Easy Sopapilla Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

There's a banner that hangs above the whiteboard at the front of my classroom. It's about six feet long and so high that you can see it from anywhere in the room -- unless you're hiding under my desk, I guess, but why would you be doing that? You're just asking for a behavior tally.

I made the banner by hand, writing its message (which comes from a book I read before I started teaching) in huge blue block letters: THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.

For most of my students, middle school is just the right time to be confronted with this reality. New 6th graders walk into my classroom fresh from the cottony, comforting cocoon of elementary school. Their elementary school teachers did a little more hand-holding, offered a little more amnesty. It's not because they were softies; rather, it's because students aren't typically ready to be independent learners at that point in their development. Some of my 6th graders aren't ready when they first meet me, either -- but it's my job over the course of two years to get them there.

Sometimes it happens the hard way. I can see the surprise in their eyes when I give them their first zero on a homework assignment. They stammer, "But my printer was broken! I couldn't print it!" I ask if they followed the advice given at the beginning of the year to find a "printer buddy," a classmate willing to print for them in case of technical difficulties. The blank stare I get in response speaks volumes. I pencil in the zero, and as I move along briskly to the next student, there's a heavy lesson being learned in my wake.

They don't quite know what hit them, but if they asked, I could tell them: it's responsibility. The whole weight of it just fell on their little shoulders! It feels like a heavy load, but actually, they can manage that zero. In doing so, in fact, they get used to managing (and working to prevent) discomfort, disappointment, and failure. They get used to making their own choices and experiencing the results. They become independent learners.

This was supposed to be a drizzle, but I got carried away.

Teaching them that there are no shortcuts (you just have to buckle down and complete the work, study for the tests, take ownership of your learning experience) is invaluable, but I also work with some kids who need a different message.

There are a few kids every year who come in with everything color coded. Their handwriting is perfect. They create mile-high stacks of flashcards before every quiz. It's a teacher's dream -- until you notice the tiny cracks in their morale that are widening under pressure. You hear that they're agonizing over their homework for hours to make it perfect, or you see them tearing up over a few missed points on a quiz. You feel their tension when you confer with them about their essay. These kids are the perfectionists. I empathize with them because I'm a perfectionist, too. I know what a heavy load it is to bear.

Drenched. This is too much honey, but it looks nice.

Perhaps this sounds hypocritical considering the first half of this post, but for the perfectionists, my message is often: THERE ARE SHORTCUTS. While it's not a message I'd want to post on the wall of my classroom (the perfectionists are a small minority, after all), it's a crucial one to convey.

These are children who need to be given permission to give 80% rather than trying their "best," which is often overkill. They need help scaling their efforts down for smaller assignments with lower point values, and saving their ardor for important endeavors. They sometimes need advice, believe it or not, on how to relax.

One of my college English professors said it best -- and I repeat this to my students every year -- when he said something to the effect of, "Your cat will still love you if you don't make an A." The perfectionists need to know that there's life beyond working hard for the sake of working hard. This literally didn't sink in for me until after college, when I tried my hardest at something and for the first time, failed miserably -- but that's a story for another day. For now, I just want to tell you: THERE ARE SHORTCUTS.

I ate this.

Last winter I bought some pumpkins to chop in half, seed, roast, and strip for pumpkin puree. It was lovely to work with the pumpkins, but I did it mostly for the sake of having made the dish completely from scratch. I was in the middle of Project Food Blog and certainly didn't want to take any unnecessary shortcuts. There's nothing wrong with that -- except that it was another hour in the kitchen, another mess to clean up. Did I really have to do all of that just to be "perfect"? Probably not: America's Test Kitchen determined with taste tests that people can't really differentiate between canned and fresh pumpkin in a recipe.

It's not that there's no point in ever making things from scratch. Apart from being able to fully control how you nourish your body, you gain confidence by making something beautiful from a collection of raw ingredients. Every now and then, though, when a simple and satisfying dessert is your primary goal, there are shortcuts. In this recipe, for instance, two cans of premade crescent roll dough and some canned pumpkin make a gorgeous autumn treat in 40 minutes flat. Enjoy a restful recipe now and then.

Where do you take shortcuts?

Easy Sopapilla Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, using adapted versions of Pillsbury's Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars and Philadelphia's No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
Yield: about 15-20 bars

I first saw the recipe for Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars on Cookies and Cups and decided to give them some pumpkin love. In these bars, two layers of premade crescent roll dough sandwich a thick layer of simple pumpkin cheesecake -- it couldn't get easier and quicker! The top bakes into a crisp, buttery cinnamon-sugar "sopapilla." I served the bars heated up a few seconds (just to remove the chill), sprinkled with toasted pecans, and drizzled with a little honey.

Bar Ingredients:
2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cup canned pumpkin
5/8 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon ginger*
*or substitute 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for these spices.

Topping Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter, melted (for topping)
1/2 cup sugar (for topping)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (for topping)

Optional Extras:
toasted pecans (see directions below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a glass 9x13 inch baking dish. Unroll one can of crescent roll dough (all in one piece) and lay it in the dish, pressing it out to cover the bottom and pinching any seams together.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, and beat to combine. Spread this mixture over the crescent roll dough in your pan. Unroll the other can of crescent roll dough and lay it over top of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture (I actually found it easier to lay it on some plastic wrap secured over a cutting board -- this gave me a surface on which to pinch the seams closed and make it into one big rectangular sheet. I then used the plastic wrap to "flip" it carefully over onto the cheesecake mixture).

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour melted butter over top of crescent roll dough and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly across the surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. While the bars bake, you can also toast the pecans on another rack -- just spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for about 6 minutes or until fragrant, stirring about halfway through the cook time. Transfer nuts to a plate to cool.

Let bars cool completely before covering them and placing them in the refrigerator to chill for at least a couple of hours (I left mine overnight). Cut into squares, heat for just about 20 seconds to take off the chill, and serve with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of toasted pecans.

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231 Comments on Easy Sopapilla Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  1. Julie
    October 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm (4 years ago)

    Love your variation on these!

  2. Not quite Vegan
    October 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm (4 years ago)

    i’m drooling. oh my goodness, these look incredible!

  3. Joanne
    October 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm (4 years ago)

    I feel like one of the keys surviving in life is figuring out where you can take a shortcut and where you really need to put in the hard work. there’s a fine line…but once you find it, you’re golden! These sopapillas look amazing…I wouldn’t know there were any shortcuts involved just from looking at em (or tasting em, I’m sure!)

      • theamberlight
        October 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm (4 years ago)

        What a yummy treat for both the tummy and the heart! Your words are a treasure…I am posting this on my blog right away!!! :) It is also good to know that it is okay to share a great short cut with others who can understand the long way to do something, but would benefit from knowing how to expidite it. What a wonderful choice for FP! Have a great week. AmberLena

  4. Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    October 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm (4 years ago)

    These sound delicious! I love the idea of incorporating the crescent rolls.

  5. Van Pham
    October 2, 2011 at 9:57 pm (4 years ago)

    Awesome! Can’t wait to try this recipe for my friend since she loves pumpkin. I just hate that it is so hard to find the Crescent creations, that’s where the crescent dough is already just 1 sheet and you won’t have to pinch the seams.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks, Van! I know — I had heard of the one-sheet crescent dough and looked for it, but it was nowhere to be found! It would make this even easier! :)

  6. Sandra
    October 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Beautiful dessert and I.head ya on the shortcuts. Sometimes they save your sanity.

  7. Sprigs of Rosemary
    October 3, 2011 at 8:27 am (4 years ago)

    A lovely lesson for perfectionists! My mother, who taught me a lot about cooking, and a lot about life –she was also a teacher– used shortcuts frequently but allowed they were okay if some part was from scratch. Like homemade frosting on a box mix. A compromise for busy perfectionists.

  8. globalgirlbkk
    October 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm (4 years ago)

    I will definitely be making these.

  9. Mikalee Byerman
    October 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my GOD this looks amazing…

    My boyfriend loves sopapillas. I love pumpkin-anything. I think these could provide the perfect combination to make us both happy FOREVER!


  10. Morning Bray
    October 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you for the recipe… I’m always looking for new ways to cook with pumpkin! I’ll definitely be making these. :)

  11. beginsatsundown
    October 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm (4 years ago)

    This looks fabulous! I have saved it to try soon. : )

  12. 7cakes
    October 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm (4 years ago)

    yum.Yum.YUM.YUM! How long do they take to make? =D

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm (4 years ago)

      About 15 minutes prep time and 30 minutes cook time! Then you just cool and chill :)

  13. Kara Goldsborough
    October 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Is it bad that my bedtime reading was one of America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks? Great story! I teach 3rd grade, and I’m constantly telling my students they need to work for what they get.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm (4 years ago)

      No way, I totally love some cookbook browsing before bed!! :) High five to a fellow teacher!

  14. amorestiletto
    October 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm (4 years ago)

    These look absolutely delicious! Yum :)

  15. kheatherg
    October 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm (4 years ago)

    These look so good and I can’t wait to try them! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I am definitely one that doesn’t like to take a lot of shortcuts when I’m in the kitchen but it’s nice to make an easy recipe every now and then. :)

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm (4 years ago)

      I typically enjoy making things fully from scratch, but I agree — every now and then you just want to do something fun and quick :) It’s all about enjoying the kitchen!

  16. Aileen Torres
    October 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Lovely post. I used to be one of those kids who had a hard time relaxing. I’m still learning how to relax :) I agree that you need to learn when to put in 100% and when to scale back–key life lesson!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm (4 years ago)

      ME TOO, Aileen! I still learn lessons every day on how to turn off the overdrive!

  17. Marylin
    October 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Anything pumpkin is a favorite in our family. This recipe is wonderful!
    Thank you.
    Marylin Warner

  18. Kristin Cavoores
    October 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

    These Look delicious! I love this time of year to start using all these flavors and I love pumpkin! I just made pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting and they turned out really good!

  19. Lakia Gordon
    October 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m not too fond of pumpkin, but this looks really good!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks, Lakia! There’s also an original version with just a cheesecake (no pumpkin) layer — you might like it!

  20. Serena
    October 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm (4 years ago)

    This is such a great dish to add to the fall menu! Thanks for sharing this. I’m definitely saving up this recipe. Check out some of my food on http://thespicystiletto.com whenever you can!

  21. Rachel
    October 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm (4 years ago)

    Looks like this is what I’m taking to my “girl’s potluck Thanksgiving.” de.lish. congrats on fp!

  22. Jacqueline
    October 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Looks amazing! Too bad I started a 21-day healthy eating challenge today of all days. Beautiful photos too!

  23. amystanton1606
    October 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow, I just tried to make these. They were gorgeous!
    I don’t know how you could take those photos they were gone a few minutes after they were done!
    Amy :) x

  24. Rachel Paul
    October 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm (4 years ago)

    What a beautiful anecdote to go with a beautiful dessert. I love the combination of Latin influence-meets-American fall hype. I think I’ll make some of these to sell at my upcoming benefit art show for my next endeavor in Honduras. Thanks for sharing!
    On a writing note– dispersing the tantalizing pictures throughout a seemingly unrelated “storyline” really peaked my interest. I loved reading this post!

  25. What's for dinner?
    October 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm (4 years ago)

    I love sopapilla cheesecake, and I love anything pumpkin, I am so excited about this, thanks so much for sharing, looks wonderful!!!!

  26. Erin
    October 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Great idea adding pumpkin to the sopapilla!

  27. Dee's Basement
    October 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm (4 years ago)

    That looks sooooooooooooooo good!

  28. ancientfoods
    October 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm (4 years ago)

    I hate to deviate but seeing this recipe I’m forced to point out that while these treats look tasty they are not Sopapilla’s. This is Pillsburys fault first and formost. Sopaipillas( correct spelling) are a New Mexican deep fried flat bread cut in various shaps but only made with flour, water, shorting and either yeast or baking soda, that’s it. Thay are drizzled with honey and are use to cut the heat of the spicey foods eaten in New Mexico. An excellent and authentic recipe ( one that I have tried myself) comes from Southwest Kitchen by Jane Butel. She is an authority on New Mexico cusine.
    I myself lived in New Mexico many years and cook , and have taught classes in this cusine which is a unique blend of American Indian, Spanish/Mexican and American influence.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm (4 years ago)

      Hence the quotation marks around “sopapilla” in the recipe description — the word was used to describe the similar effect and flavor (a crunchy, honeyed treat), but I don’t think it was anyone’s intention to present them as authentic sopapillas :)

  29. marinabenjamin
    October 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm (4 years ago)

    I live in the UK and don’t know what a crescent roll is? Is there a substitute you could recommend? ready-made puff pastry roll for example?

  30. melanber
    October 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Notwithstanding that I am not keen on pumpkin, this dessert looks very appetising and we may have to try it – especially since my wife brought in a baking pumpkin yesterday.
    Besides that, I very much enjoyed the blog on shortcuts.
    Thank you,

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you, Mel! The original recipe was for regular “Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars,” so if you don’t love pumpkin, you could try that one, too! Hope you enjoy them!

  31. Ory B.
    October 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm (4 years ago)

    just looking at is a great desire to taste, try the … in the hope that is so good!

  32. ukate
    October 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm (4 years ago)

    What drool-worthy photos! And I love the classroom anecdotes. My students were high schoolers and were *still* constantly amazed when they got a low grade. Like you, I never hesitated to pass out the zeros when they were earned. The looks of shock and betrayal with which those zeros were met was…amusing. “Yeah,” I’d say. “You earned that.” I did it, of course, because I loved those kids. I genuinely wanted them to understand that they had to put EFFORT into things and truly do their bets if they wanted rewards and recognition. A worthwhile lesson, in my opinion. Glad to know that I’m not the only one. :)


    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm (4 years ago)

      It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it! They learn more from experiencing the consequences of their mistakes than they do by getting away with low-quality work or effort. And so much better they learn it now! High fives, teacher friend!

  33. Henrietta B.
    October 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve got to try this recipe. Beautiful, getting carried away and pouring instead of drizzling the honey is what i’d do too!!!

  34. iwannabeaskinnyaire
    October 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Congratulations on your freshly pressed. I love this because i get to see great blogs such as yours. Did someone say cheescake? I absolutely love cheesecake. I was just nominated for an award I had no idea about. The versatile blogger award? Yeah! Anyway, to win it one of the requirements is to share 7 things about yourself. One of them is I absolutely love cheesecake! So, your post rocks in that aspect! Thank you for sharing. I will definitely make this very soon!

  35. thekalechronicles
    October 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm (4 years ago)

    I don’t take shortcuts on pastry, except for frozen puff pastry or filo, but I will use canned pumpkin. Also canned beans (instead of always soaking dried ones). I don’t make my own yogurt or cheese either, even though I know it can be done. And I’ll eat Campbell’s tomato soup from the can or canned chili in a pinch. So I’m not pure as the driven snow — just shoot me. — Sharyn

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm (4 years ago)

      I think we all have our “things” — I think it pays to be thoughtful about food choices but also not to obsess about them. There’s a nice moderation in there somewhere! By the way, have you ever made puff pastry from scratch? It’s not something to do all the time, but it’s a lovely process and (I know everyone always says this, but in this case it’s really true) the taste is out of this world compared to premade! Here’s my post on it if you ever want to give it a go! http://willowbirdbaking.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/homemade-puff-pastry-and-vol-au-vents/

  36. thekalechronicles
    October 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm (4 years ago)

    I haven’t tried making puff pastry — I don’t use it a lot, maybe because I grew up with a killer pie crust recipe (My Mom is a pie crust ace), which you can find on “The Kale Chronicles” as part of the Gravenstein Apple Pie post: http://thekalechronicles.com/2011/09/03/gravenstein-apple-pie/ Thanks for the link, though — if I do attempt puff pastry, I’ll use it. — Sharyn

  37. kitchentangents
    October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m one of those color-coded indexing-make everything from scratch-people. I also tend to take on too many projects, become overwhelmed, and then think I’m failing at everything. I believe I will put up post-its everywhere to remind myself, “There are shortcuts.” The dessert sounds fabulous too. Thank you for this post.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm (4 years ago)

      ME TOO — I know just what you mean! Love the post-it idea. Every now and then, learning to “fail” is MORE important than learning to succeed for folks like us πŸ˜‰

  38. daisy
    October 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow! Your blog is beautiful, and inspiring for a newbie like me.

  39. downhomesouthjersey
    October 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm (4 years ago)

    God bless you for putting up with middle schoolers! My son is a 13 year-old perfectionist, and he can be quite a challenge sometimes. I am going to borrow your saying about the cat – maybe it will help!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm (4 years ago)

      Maybe so!! I loved the “give 80% rule” — it just gives them permission to let themselves out of the, “is it perfect??” loop. Best wishes for your son — it’s a frustrating road, but his perfectionism will also serve him well in some ways! Like anything else, it’s learning to manage the personality you were given (I’m still working on it!)

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm (4 years ago)

      Ooh yikes; I hope they don’t get that kind of buddy! We’re also workin’ on instilling an honor code in their lives — personal and academic. That curry, though… yum! I’ll take some of that πŸ˜‰

  40. Eggton
    October 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Julie, thank you for this– last night, I threw extra pecans in the oven when i was roasting them for something else, and I just KNEW there was a good reason out there. Looks like this is it.

    (www.eggton.com, a blog about moving to Alabama and cooking dinner).

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh, yes!! There is ALWAYS a good reason for extra toasted pecans :) Thanks, Katherine! Can’t wait to check out the blog.

  41. Dancediaries
    October 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm (4 years ago)

    I just wanted to pluck that ” Sopapilla cheesecake bar ” out of the computer to eat it :) its looks SO good! My special recipe is : Banana chocolate chunk cookies. (of course with my adjustments so I make it mine) Now I am very hungry.

  42. Dancediaries
    October 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm (4 years ago)

    I want to make some cheesecake bars now:)

  43. Kelly B.
    October 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm (4 years ago)

    Parece delicioso! Adoraria experimentar :)

  44. newsy1
    October 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm (4 years ago)

    My type of recipe–shortcuts. Thanks for the great recipe.

  45. Eva McCane
    October 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm (4 years ago)

    it’s nearly dinner time, and i just stumbled across this blog. i didn’t eat breakfast, worked out over lunch, and no stomach is probably eating itself at this point. now first, i’d like to thank you for this recipe because i plan to use it. but second, i’d like to voice my frustration with the fact that i was starving before i looked at these pictures, and now i’m even more starving. famished. :) thanks for sharing. and torturing me.

  46. theparkersperher
    October 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm (4 years ago)

    I wish all teachers thought like you! THat hand holding has to stop at some point or you end up with a 20 year old step-son like mine..hahaha.

    And I cannot wait to try this recipe.. sounds yummy.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm (4 years ago)

      HA, I’m sure he has plenty o’ redeeming qualities :) Here’s to independence!!

      Thanks :)

  47. Lowongan Kerja
    October 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Looks so delicious ! mmm… slurp

  48. wcgabe920
    October 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm (4 years ago)

    If I could eat my computer screen right now I would. Those are going to be the next thing I make. THANKS!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm (4 years ago)

      Hooray, you’re so welcome! Stop in and let me know what you think! Hope you love them!

  49. Mariajose
    October 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm (4 years ago)

    It looks delicious!

  50. vegansunshine
    October 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow, these look awesome! :) Yum.


  51. mamasmorningcup
    October 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Delicious! I am a reformed perfectionist. I have too much going on to do everything perfect. I take shortcuts everywhere except for love. My daughter deserves everything I can give in the love department.

  52. Elizebeth
    October 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm (4 years ago)

    ahhh i can’t wait to make these for Thanksgiving but of course I’m gonna make a batch for me before then :)

  53. mybakingempire
    October 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the message in this post… whether relating it to baking or real life! I, like you, am one of the people who has to learn to give 80% sometimes. In my initial zeal, when I started baking, I went out of my way to make everything from scratch – probably just to prove I could do it. I’ve learned, like you, that if someone else went ahead and made canned pumpkin so my life could be easier and my recipes could be ready an hour earlier, then I’m going to take advantage of it. Great recipe, I’m so excited it’s pumpkin season again!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 6:32 am (4 years ago)

      Exactly — we just have to have a little balance and not kill ourselves for no reason. That way we can enjoy the big projects when they come along :) Thanks!

  54. SWAPNA
    October 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm (4 years ago)

    nice one!!!!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2011 at 12:41 am (4 years ago)

    These look absolutely DELICIOUS!!

    Brooke and Mckenzie

    Check out our blog:

  56. Jenn
    October 4, 2011 at 1:10 am (4 years ago)

    Julie, the recipe looks delicious, but I really appreciate your message of balance and quality instruction. I bet you’re an amazing teacher. Kudos!!

  57. Eu Mulher
    October 4, 2011 at 1:48 am (4 years ago)

    Very delicious! Kisses

  58. Mayra Mejia MSc
    October 4, 2011 at 2:36 am (4 years ago)

    Great post! Both the spiritual and physical lives are an education. We can’t get to the next level without learning the lessons and we can’t enjoy the fruits of our lessons without an open mind. Beautiful!

  59. Anjali
    October 4, 2011 at 2:54 am (4 years ago)

    nice description with clear pictures.love it

  60. Chandra B.
    October 4, 2011 at 4:04 am (4 years ago)

    Don’t let Homer Simpson see this post. lol

  61. adriknows
    October 4, 2011 at 4:11 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, these sound great! Since I can’t get canned pumpkin here in Budapest (or I can at one shop for about $5 a can) I’ll bake one myself, and since I can’t get crescent roll dough either I’ll see what happens if I use prepared strudel pastry dough for my shortcut! Everybody loves cheesecake here but nobody knows how to make it – I’m sure it’ll be a big hit! Thanks! Keep on blogging.

  62. Button's Mom
    October 4, 2011 at 4:37 am (4 years ago)

    I started my studies at Stockholm University here in Sweden, to become a teacher in history. Regrettably, my professors were too old fashioned for me and what I wanted out of my education that I after just a year (of five in total for that particular programme), quit. Some days I regret it, but most days I don’t. I was so set on becoming the best history teacher ever – and the people I spoke to about my visions and ideas said that I probably would make the best history teacher too. But I just couldn’t stand the way my professors would grade us students, what they thought was more valueble and just how they conducted their teaching.

    I am now 5 months pregnant, engaged to a wonderful man (to be married next year in May), and he has helped me realize that I still CAN be the best teacher – to our son. I guess quitting my studies was a form of shortcut to something that turned out to be even better.

    But, mainly, I just wanted to say that I wish for more teachers like you.

    And the cake will probably be on the menu when my father-in-law comes to see our new apartment the 28th to 31st of October, all the way from South Africa through Germany. He loves all kinds of cake :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 6:28 am (4 years ago)

      Aw, thank you! It sounds like you are RIGHT where you need to be in your life :) I hope your father-in-law enjoys the treat :)

  63. Katerina
    October 4, 2011 at 5:43 am (4 years ago)

    Looks delicious, that’s a recipe I ought to try out. Just bought some cookbooks and getting ready for some baking-mania. will be sure to keep coming back. I love your writing style too, beautiful blog. Just moved from blogger, kinda new here … I’m loving the wordpress community!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 6:27 am (4 years ago)

      Welcome to WordPress, Katerina! I hope you love it as much as I do — it’s a fantastic platform. Enjoy your baking fun!

  64. Richa
    October 4, 2011 at 6:22 am (4 years ago)


  65. mademoiselledaniela
    October 4, 2011 at 7:06 am (4 years ago)

    That looks lovely! I will definitely give it a go. I’m not a massive baker – I prefer savoury food most of the time – but this on looks just delicious!


  66. blakeherzinger
    October 4, 2011 at 7:07 am (4 years ago)

    You would have had a devoted follower with cheesecake OR pumpkin…both has pretty much sealed the deal. This looks incredible.

  67. kelvintan88
    October 4, 2011 at 7:44 am (4 years ago)

    what a beautiful post!

  68. LiveRobin
    October 4, 2011 at 8:59 am (4 years ago)

    wow wonderful food you shared. I wish to eat. ommmmm.

  69. daniellewilkes
    October 4, 2011 at 9:07 am (4 years ago)

    Lovely post! I didn’t know that people couldn’t taste the difference between real pumpkin and the canned variety, so it’s good to know. (Also, as a former– staying home for the fist time this year– 7th and 8th grade teacher of 15 years, THANK YOU for not being afraid to let kids learn those lessons. It’s never easy for the kids, and as parents, we hate to see our kids be unsuccessful, but what a great lesson learned. In your spare time, look up the NPR “I Believe” essay called “Failure is a good thing.”)

    Now, just so you know– I about lost my mind when your poured/drizzled honey on your pumpkin sopapilla cheesecake bar. Seriously. I have to make these. I want to bring them to a meeting on Thursday. If I can’t heat them, should I pick something else or bring these with my little honey bear? Do tell.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 9:24 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks, Danielle! High fives to a (former) fellow MS teacher! :)

      You should definitely still take them! They’ll warm up enough on the trip over — the 20 second blast in the microwave is really just to remove the chill. Take the honey bear along for sure! Hope you love them!

  70. sarahsjoys
    October 4, 2011 at 9:20 am (4 years ago)

    Love it! I have a blog about Pumpkin Pie to Die For that I think you might like! I was a teacher too and could already tell you which of my second graders would end up being your 6th graders wide-eyed at their zero and which ones would be your perfectionists! Middle School takes a special kind of teacher (my parents teach middle school!), so bless you for your hard work! The pictures are gorgeous and I love the sentiments that go with the recipe.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 9:34 am (4 years ago)

      I feel the same about elementary school teachers, Sarah! I’m amazed at how you guys manage it :) Thanks!

  71. M.
    October 4, 2011 at 9:39 am (4 years ago)

    Really enjoyed your post.

  72. Jessica M. Berardi
    October 4, 2011 at 9:45 am (4 years ago)

    These look delicious! And I’ve always thought of making my own pumpkin puree……you have inspired me and now I think this will be the season to do it!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 9:50 am (4 years ago)

      It’s a simple process, Jessica — just takes some time! I discuss it in my Browned Butter Pumpkin Cake post. It does make you feel like a rockstar to do it at least once πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

  73. Zhian River Reed
    October 4, 2011 at 9:49 am (4 years ago)

    Hands down, you rock, Lady! You were the teacher that burned my ass in 7th grade, but, if I could, I would thank that one profusely. My learning (and not learning) is down to her teaching me to own it.

    I will use the recipe on my new job. I am a chef. I’ll tweak, but I love the idea. Keep up the good fight, cook and eat amazing food and thank you again!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 9:51 am (4 years ago)

      Aw, thank you! What a sweet comment! I’m sure that teacher would love to hear this if you could find her and send her a note!

  74. kvolman
    October 4, 2011 at 10:16 am (4 years ago)

    These look fantastic, I’ll have to experiment a bit with the recipe as we don’t have canned pumpkin nor cresent roll dough here in Argentina…guess I won’t be taking any shortcuts!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 10:20 am (4 years ago)

      Too bad! They’re worth even a “longcut” though! πŸ˜€ Hope you love ’em!

  75. hanie
    October 4, 2011 at 10:21 am (4 years ago)

    Very Yummy! My stomach start blowing my ears! its my favorite sweets, one thing for sure, I will try your recipe….thank you so much…good luck hope to have more…..

  76. thehungrygiant
    October 4, 2011 at 10:52 am (4 years ago)

    awww i would’ve really liked a recipe that called for fresh pumpkin and a substitute for the crescent rolls. not because i want to do it from scratch (well, not entirely because of this) but we dont have pumpkin and crescent rolls where i come from but we do have squash. haha. and i could totally relate to you being a teacher. i’ve made a bumpy transition from being a college student to a teacher in the past few months. :)

  77. Ancil W. Jones
    October 4, 2011 at 11:06 am (4 years ago)

    This recipe sounds fantastic. I couldn’t see the pics, but from the other entries, they look fantastic. I will have to try them before Thanksgiving when my family will be together.

    God bless and keep up the good work.

  78. Sara (The Veggie Eco-Life)
    October 4, 2011 at 11:25 am (4 years ago)

    This looks very very very yummy! I like pumpkins in dessert, so this is a new way to try some πŸ˜€

  79. thehungrygiant
    October 4, 2011 at 11:28 am (4 years ago)

    thanks so much! the recipe you gave me is for baked crescent rolls..does that mean I just have to make the dough and all I have to do is to use the dough for your recipe? :)

    About teaching, well it’s been a great ride so far. you see i never studied to be a teacher. i’m a nurse by profession but a few months ago my English teacher asked me if I wanted to teach part-time so here I am. so when it comes to “being a teacher”, I guess the transition was rough. the students are a great varied mix of personalities so it’s almost always never boring. really, they’re the best part of my job. :))

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 11:34 am (4 years ago)

      Yep, that’s what I would do!

      I never studied to be a teacher, either. People get into the profession through all different means and sometimes the ones who never expected to teach are the best teachers of all :) You just never know! As long as you have a passion for the job and a passion to reflect and learn, I think you can be a great mentor to kids. I’m so glad you feel the students are the best part — just as it should be!

  80. thehungrygiant
    October 4, 2011 at 11:59 am (4 years ago)

    that’s actually…..really comforting to know. thanks so much julie. :) i’ll keep your advice on hand, just in case I need to remind myself. :)

  81. foodandtools
    October 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm (4 years ago)

    These Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars look great and I am sure taste even better. Honey drizzled over…would like a piece now with my cup of tea. Nice photographs.

  82. erin
    October 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m constantly in a debate with myself on where to take shortcuts in the kitchen. I love making things from scratch and being able to say that I did. But sometimes, it’s just not worth it.
    These bars look heavenly!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm (4 years ago)

      I know just what you mean, Erin! I’ve decided for myself that it’s all about balance and what I enjoy — and the particular goal of each recipe. Most times I’m in the kitchen trying to challenge myself, but every now and then I just want to have a fun little prep time and end up with something delicious.

  83. ramblebee
    October 4, 2011 at 11:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Perfect. Both the advice and the pumpkin cheesecake.

    I’m a university student, have received A marks, and work my butt off to do so. When I don’t, I FEEL like tearing up!

    I’ll try to be a bit easier on myself :)

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 5, 2011 at 12:00 am (4 years ago)

      No harm in trying to do great work, until you’re sacrificing your health and happiness over things that in the long run, aren’t as important! It’s all about balance :)

      Thanks, ramblebee :)

  84. gaycarboys
    October 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

    very nice idea. As I posted on other recipie sites i’ll be trying them as soon as I dump my diet;)

  85. artisanfoodsinc
    October 7, 2011 at 6:10 am (4 years ago)

    this looks deeelish and the photos are lovely! can’t wait to try it~ we get great pumpkins here in shanghai. thanks for posting! ^.^~

  86. beneaththeunderdog
    October 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm (4 years ago)

    humongous hit in my house! it will remain a mainstay, especially during the holidays.

  87. Taylor
    October 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh yes I have had those attempts of explaining forgotten homework to you. I went into 6th grade a perfectionist, now I’m in 8th grade a responsible realist.

  88. Kate the Peon
    October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm (4 years ago)

    I made these for my BF’s work and/or family. They’re a huge hit with him, so I’m hoping everyone else will love them too!

    I do think the 1/2c butter topping is a bit excessive…I used maybe half that and found it plenty.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm (4 years ago)

      So glad you all enjoyed them! Now that you mention the 1/2 cup butter topping, I remember thinking it was quite a bit as I poured it on, too. I do think if folks want, they can cut it down a tad. I’m going to adjust it in the recipe a bit. Thanks!

  89. trialsinfood
    October 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm (4 years ago)

    looks delicious! shortcuts are awesome!

  90. Jenifer
    December 4, 2014 at 11:45 am (12 months ago)

    From an elementary school counselor to a wonderful middle school teacher – “Well said”. What great wisdom you are spouting. I hate I can’t meet that wonderful mind in person. I stopped by for a great recipe (which I can’t wait to try) and got so much food for the soul to pass on to my sweet “cacooned” elementary babies. THANKS!

  91. Stephanie
    March 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm (9 months ago)

    Hi Julie!! Would you think browned butter over the top would be okay, or would you stick to just melting it. I have searched to see if anyone had done this with no luck. I wondered if maybe it was a bad idea. (Is browned butter ever a bad idea?) Thanks in advance…these look so good.

    • Julie Ruble
      March 13, 2015 at 9:06 pm (9 months ago)

      Mmmm! I’m in the “brown butter is never a bad idea” group!! And I think it would be particularly delicious here! Go for it!! Can’t wait to hear how it tastes.


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