living the sweet life

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger Snap Crust

I’ve been holding out on you, and I’m sorry.

I have no excuse other than time escaped me and Christmas is already over and I haven’t quite processed the fact that it’s December already. And it’s almost January. Like.. it’s tomorrow. Today is New Year’s Eve.

Where. Has. The. Time. Gone?! It’s actually mind boggling. I feel like it was just last week that I was going out with friends on New Years Eve, that it was just a couple of days ago that I graduated. Not a year, not 6 months. It’s almost terrifying. Maybe it’s the real life realization of no more breaks, no more fun schedules. Instead, I work 40-50 hours a week, take voice lessons, go into New York and audition and run myself ragged a lot of the time. Maybe that’s why time is moving so quickly.

And, well, maybe I have another excuse, but it’s lame and pathetic.

“Pumpkin Season”

It’s so awkward. The food world has deemed that pumpkin flavored anything (coffee, tea, Starbucks, ice cream, cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, bread, beer, cider, etc) is only acceptable from September-November. And once you’ve finished the last bites of pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, that’s it. No more. It’s time to move on to gingerbread and Christmas type flavors. But honestly? I don’t care. Pumpkin can stay right with the gingerbread in my books, and it has such a wonderful warmth, that it really should stick around until spring hits which doesn’t actually really happen until at least March/April here in the Northeast.

I’m not saying I don’t absolutely love the gingerbread and hearty winter flavors and spices – I do. In love, actually. You can find my favorite recipe for Swedish gingerbread here, and I’ve been literally eating these like they’re going out of style. But I don’t want to feel like I need to only limit my “holiday” flavors to the holidays that they’re associated with, you know?

So make these. I made them for Thanksgiving, but I plan on making them again soon. They’re bite size and you won’t even know they’re there… Until you’ve eaten 5. Or 10.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

makes 24 mini cheesecakes

For the Crust:
2 cups Gingersnap crumbs (Annas are great)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Cheesecake:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 scant cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups pure pumpkin puree (3/4 of a 15 oz can)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon homemade pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, crush gingersnaps until they are crumbs. Add the sugar and give it a stir. Add the melted butter and mix together until the mixture resembles wet sand. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon about 1 tablespoon gingersnap mixture into each well, and then press down so the crust is flat against the bottom. Bake the crusts for 5-7 minutes, until just set.

Let the crusts cool while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugars together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add the pumpkin and heavy cream, mixing until incorporated. Finally, add the salt, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and mix until everything is well combined.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of cheesecake batter into each cupcake well, on top of the prepared crusts.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheesecake filling is just set. Transfer to a cooling rack, allowing the pan to cool until it can be handled. Then, transfer the cheesecakes into the refrigerator. Let them chill for at least 4 hours before topping with homemade whipped cream and serving.

[source: inspired by My Baking Addiction]

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
Splash of vanilla (optional)

In a medium bowl, add the heavy cream and vanilla, and use an electric mixer (or a whisk if you’re brave) to beat the cream until soft peaks form. Be careful to not over-beat.

You can spoon on top of the cheesecakes, or transfer to a piping bag and pipe little dollops on top of each cheesecake.

[source: Me.]
photography by: Christina Spleen

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