It was bound to happen. I jumped aboard the pumpkin train! I did manage to hold out until mid October. Things get a little crazy this time of year on food blogs with an abundance of recipes containing pumpkin and pumpkin spices. But I truly do love this time of year, and the smells and tastes associated with it. And these pumpkin cheesecakes are truly delicious. So here’s my obligatory fall pumpkin submission. Enjoy!
One of the great things about these mini cheesecakes is that they are significantly easier than making a big cheesecake. They are also easier to serve. No water bath, no wrapping your spring-form in foil so it doesn’t leak or let water in, no worried anticipation when you take the spring-form off wondering if it’s going to remain beautiful, no cracked top or slicing pieces for guests. Just mix, fill, bake, chill and enjoy. Guests serve themselves little cheesecake cupcakes, there’s less clean up and everyone is happy.
I really like the chocolate Oreo crust, but you could stick with graham crackers or use gingersnaps for some extra fall spice. Another variation would be to make these all pumpkin and add about 3/4 to 1 cup of pumpkin to the filling. Keep the spices the same.
This filling is going to make more than enough for a dozen cheesecakes by about 2 or 3, with more pumpkin than plain filling. I suggest either adding a couple extra Oreos and a tad more butter initially and baking up a few more cheesecakes OR put an entire whole Oreo in the extra baking cups and fill those with the remaining filling. Bake these after you bake the full tin and keep an eye on them, they will probably bake up a little quicker. Or you could do as this lazy woman does and just toss the extra. I’m sorry if wasting food appalls you. I typically don’t do it. But I had a crying baby on my hands and needed to finish as soon as possible!
These would make a great addition to a fall dessert table, the orange and black qualify them for Halloween and they would also be perfect for Thanksgiving. Since they have to be chilled you can make them ahead of time, up to but not more than 48 hours. After the initial chilling make sure to cover them if they will be kept more than a day in the fridge.
2 packages cream cheese, room temperature (full or low fat)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place cupcake liners in cupcake tin and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Crush Oreos (either in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin and some muscle) to fine crumbs.
Combine Oreo crumbs with butter and mix to combine evenly.
Divide crumb mixture equally between muffin cups (about 2 rounded teaspoons per cup).
Press down firmly and bake for about 6 minutes. Make filling while these bake.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and sour cream together until fully combined. Add in eggs, vanilla and salt, then beat well. Scrape the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds or so.
Remove a little less than half (about 1 1/4 cups) of this mixture to another bowl. Add in the pumpkin and spices and mix well.
On top of each cooked crust spoon one spoonful of plain and one spoonful of pumpkin filling. Repeat with another spoonful of each, pumpkin on top of plain and plain on top of pumpkin, then swirl them together without mixing too much.
Repeat with the rest of the cups. Each cup should be almost full, but you will probably have a little more filling left over. See above for how to deal with the excess.
Reduce oven to 325°F and bake for 20 minutes, then increase oven to 350°F and bake 5 minutes more. When the centers of the cheesecakes jiggle just a bit when you shake the pan they’re done. If they seem really jiggly, bake a few minutes more. Remove from the oven, let cool for 30 minutes, then transfer entire pan to the fridge for a few hours. Serve up!
If I were a good blogger who thought more than a day in advance I would’ve posted this weeks ago so you’d have time to plan and make these when you carved your pumpkin. I’m not a good blogger, I’m a foggy headed mommy. So here’s a post about pumpkin seeds that no one is going to use…
You’ve likely already thrown your seeds or roasted them if you’ve already carved your pumpkin. But if you’re carving your pumpkin today or tomorrow, then you’re in luck and you’ll have pumpkin seeds to roast! Or you could go buy another pumpkin, scoop out the goo, carve another jack o lantern and roast some seeds. And if you live in Houston you might need to replace the pumpkin that’s rotting on your porch anyway thanks to 80 degree temps and high humidity in OCTOBER. Why do I live here?
These pumpkin seeds are very simple and straightforward. Wash and dry your seeds (preferably overnight), toss in melted butter and spices, and roast in the oven. Nothing fancy. I’ve seen so many variations, from buttermilk ranch to salted caramel. People are so creative! I thought about trying something out of the ordinary, but ultimately decided to stick with something simple and something nostalgic. I remember roasting seeds as a kid, and this is what we’d do, although maybe with just salt a pepper or seasoning salt. I made my own little mix of spices for these seeds. You could easily adapt this with the spices you like. Happy carving, happy snacking and Happy Halloween!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat oven to 375°F
In a bowl toss pumpkin seeds with butter and spices to evenly coat.
Pour the seeds out onto a rimmed baking sheet (lined wish parchment for easier clean up).
Roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan every 5 minutes to make sure the seeds are evenly roasted. The seeds are done when they just begin to brown, but I like mine a little darker so I often go a minute or 2 more.
Cool and store in a sealed container up to a week.
I was tempted to not even post this recipe since these bars did not photograph very well. But Ben brought some of the more attractive specimens up to work, and apparently they were devoured within an hour. Some people at work asked for the recipe, and Ben assured them I would be posting on the blog. So, despite the not so great photo, here they are. These are tasty. Pretty messy, and a little difficult to eat and cut, but oh so tasty.
This recipe is from the McCormick website, and I did use mostly McCormick spices. Here is the link. My vanilla was from Belize (thanks, Kate!) and my cinnamon was….not really sure where this container of ground cinnamon came from now that I think about it. Anyway, all the spices make this a dessert that makes your entire house smell delicious. I might have said this before, but I love fall baking. Instead of using caramels that require a lot of tedious unwrapping I used those caramel pieces that come with the wooden sticks for making caramel apples. Something I just do not get. Caramel apples. Who really eats those things? It seems like too much work.
My bars did not cut out very neatly. I might have needed to bake them a little longer. I also think it would help to press the crumb topping into the caramel layer so that the crumbs don’t fall off the bars when they’re cut. Regardless of looks though, these are quite good. Enjoy! (more…)
It is starting to really feel like fall here. The evenings are cool, the leaves are starting to change and fall off the trees, and it is now permissible to make fall flavored desserts! So, in honor of this wonderful season I bought 4 cans of pumpkin and am going a little crazy baking pumpkin desserts.
Today I made soft, almost cake-like pumpkin cookies sandwiching a smooth cream cheese frosting. After making a few of the sandwiches I decided to simply ice the rest of the cookies. I made the cookies a little big, and so two of the cookies with the filling just made them a bit daunting.
This recipe is from Tasty Kitchen. Here is the link. If you look at this recipe you will notice that one tedious element is piping the cookies onto individual pieces of parchment paper. I just used an ice cream scoop and dolloped the cookie batter onto a large piece of parchment. This works just fine, but does give the cookies more of a mounded appearance. I fit 6 cookies per sheet and made a total of 35 cookies.
These cookies are quite soft, and the frosting makes them even harder to transport since you can’t stack them. So, these may be a dessert I make and serve from my our kitchen instead of trying to take them somewhere…like I did today. Ben liked them because they were not too sweet, and my friend Jackie said they had the texture of a pumpkin bread. They are quite good after chilling in the fridge for a few hours and eaten cold.
I think fall is my favorite baking season. Maybe I’ll make a pie here pretty soon. You don’t have to have a reason to make a pie, right?