Mini Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Dense, creamy cheesecakes with a gingersnap crust, flavored with pumpkin and cinnamon and finished with a dollop of whipped cream. Plus they’re miniature, which is always cute. The dessert of the season? Duh.
It’s fall, y’all.
Fall is my favorite season. Here’s why.
1. I love the browning leaves that crunch under the weight of each step.
2. I love waking up to that beautiful golden and pastel pink sunrise.
3. I love seeing piles and piles of pumpkins as I drive by that little shop on the side of the road.
4. I love having an excuse to make apple pie- those warm fall smells of cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. I love the crisp, chilly wind that turns my nose into the likes of Rudolph.
6. But most of all I love pulling out my boots after their long summer hibernation. I am such a girl.
In light of the season (or should I say in dark- since the days get shorter and shorter), I made mini pumpkin gingersnap cheesecakes. Our local grocery store has a large pile of squashes and pumpkins. My personal favorite is a Hokkaido squash which is perfect for making puree- I love to use it for baking and soups. It is sweet, very flavorful and vibrant in its fresh orange color. Colors! It’s all about the color. Last year I made pumpkin scones using the homemade pumpkin puree– check this post out for a guided step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make your own! This year I thought it was only fit to do a pumpkin cheesecake.
I’ve never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but pumpkin cheesecake on the other hand? Get me a foam finger. It’s pumpkin at a new level.
There aren’t any tips or tricks to make this recipe because it’s fairly straightforward and simple. I will say that using gingersnap cookies is essential as gingersnaps offer a strong spice-filled flavor that pairs perfectly with the subtly spiced cheesecake batter, but I know that many people pair an Oreo cookie crust with pumpkin cheesecake. In addition, whipped cream is optional, but necessary as it’s lightness cuts through the rich, tangy cheesecake texture. It’s also very delicately flavored so it works beautifully with the cinnamony flavors.
Of course, it will be difficult to omit the pumpkin because it’s the star of the show. There is so much you can do with pumpkin, that it’s impossible not to love.
When I’m hungry before bed, I can’t sleep. I can only think of dessert. So this one night, I thought all things fall flavored. And I came up with a list of some 30-something dessert ideas using pumpkin during the fall. Talk about not sleeping.
Pumpkin has a rich texture, a slightly sweet- even smoky flavor (if you roast the pumpkin). It isn’t overpowering in anyway, I’d say it simply enhances flavor, especially in desserts- and adds a bit of color too. The marriage of pumpkin and cheesecake is brilliant.
Might we call this the dessert of the season? I think yes.
Mini Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecakes
For the base:
- 3/4 cup gingersnap cookies (I use the Lotus brand)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- For the filling:
- 225 g (8 oz) cream cheese
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (I use homemade pumpkin puree but you can use store-bought)
For the topping:
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a muffin pan with 9-11 cupcake paper liners.
To make the base:
- Crush up the gingersnap cookies and remeasure to make sure that it is 3/4 cup of cookie crumbs.
- Stir the cookie crumbs with the melted butter.
- Place 1.5 tbsp of the mixture into each cupcake liner, pressing down and up the sides slightly.
- Bake for 5 minutes and let the tray cool completely.
To make the filling:
- In a bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until well-incorporated. Using room temperature cream cheese speeds up this process and prevents lumps.
- Add the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and whisk once more.
- Add the egg and pumpkin puree and mix just to combine- over mixing will lead to more cracks.
- Fill the cupcake liners around 3/4 of the way full- you can fill them more if you have leftover batter.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the cheesecakes are puffy around the edges and the center is more or less set- a little jiggly is fine.
- The cheesecakes might crack slightly but do not worry because as they cool, they will sink slightly and the cracks will dissipate.
- Let the cheesecakes cool completely before peeling off the cupcake liners and then chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.
To make the whipped cream:
- Beat together the cream and sugar until the cream thickens and forms stiff peaks. Careful not to over beat or you will end up with a curdled mixture. Note that chilled heavy cream is ideal for whipping- it will whip even faster if the bowl and whisk are chilled too.
- To serve, dollop the cheesecakes with a generous amount of whipped cream and sprinkle on some crushed gingersnaps as a garnish.