December is here and I know many of you will be going to holiday parties so I thought this would be a perfect time to post an easy recipe that you could bring to a party or have at your own party if you are hosting. When going to a cocktail party or bringing a dish to someone’s home, I like to try and keep things as simple as possible. By that, I mean if I am hosting, I don’t like making a huge mess in the kitchen before people come over. Alternatively, when I am bringing a dish to someone’s home, I don’t want to have to worry about serving it with forks, plates etc. Cookies work out well for this and I know a lot of people like to bring and make cookies around the holidays, so if that is your preference check out my Whole Grain Buckwheat (or Oatmeal) Cookies. If you are interested in a different type of bite sized dessert, read on to hear about my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes….
So I found this recipe for mini cheesecakes made in cupcake tins here awhile ago and thought it was a great idea (already in perfect portion sizes and no serving, plate or fork necessary!). However, my husband is not really a cheesecake fan so I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to make and bring them somewhere. A few weeks ago we went to a “Friendsgiving” and I jumped at the chance to make them with a few slight adjustments to make them more thanksgiving themed. So basically instead of vanilla wafers for the crust, I used gluten free gingersnaps, removed the cottage cheese and added pumpkin puree, and added a few pumpkin pie spices to the batter. Adding the pumpkin puree made the batter a little more liquidy, so I did have to cook it for a little longer, but the texture still turned out good and cheesecakey. Also, have I mentioned before that pumpkin has lots of nutrients? It is rich in Vitamin A, fiber, and potassium, just to name a few, so adding pumpkin give both a nutrition boost and a delicious fall flavor.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
30 Cupcake/Muffin Liners
30 Gingersnap Cookies (Use Gluten Free Gingersnap Cookies if making GF)
16 Ounces of Neufchatel Cheese or Cream Cheese
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
4 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Pecans or Whipped Cream for topping (Optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in center of the oven. Place cupcake/muffin liners into cupcake tin and add 1 gingersnap cookie to each liner. Mix all remaining ingredients together with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons batter to each liner and bake in oven for ~20 minutes or until cheesecakes are firm in the center. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. If desired, you can top with whipped cream immediately before serving or make a crunchy pecan topping. To make a pecan topping you can simply sauté a 1/2 cup chopped pecans with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes or until topping is warm and fragrant. Sprinkle a few pieces on the top of each mini cheesecake.