Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Bars

Makes 16. Recipe from Lisa Buquoi, of Denham Springs, is a finalist in the dessert category of The Advocate’s Thanksgiving Recipe Contest sponsored by Calandro’s Supermarket.

For crust:

1 (171/2-oz.) pkg. Betty Crocker pumpkin cookie mix

Middle layer:

1 (14-oz.) bag Hershey’s Kisses Pumpkin Spice Flavored Candies

1 cup chopped pecans

Top Layer:

3 cups powdered sugar

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Mix cookie mix according to package directions. Press in the bottom of pan. Unwrap 30-40 pumpkin spice kisses. Place on top of cookie mixture. Sprinkle pecans over the Hershey’s Kisses.

3. Mix powdered sugar, cream cheese and eggs with an electric mixer. Mix on lowest speed until all the ingredients are combined. When ingredients are combined, mix until smooth and creamy. Pour into pan and spread evenly over the entire cake. Bake for 45- 50 minutes. Cool before serving.