Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The smells, the food, the holidays and all of apple and pumpkin flavors. Pumpkin is something that I have not used in anything other than pumpkin pie. But this Fall, I am branching out and finally incorporating one of my favorite fall flavors into my recipes. This recipe uses canned pumpkin puree to create delectable mini pumpkin cheesecakes. The aroma filling the house on a chilly evening was exactly what I had been waiting for all year. I just love it! The other great thing about this recipe is the crust – gluten free. Instead of the typical graham cracker or Oreo crust you generally see on cheesecakes, this uses oatmeal, which was surprisingly tasty and has a great texture. I can’t wait to use it for other cheesecake recipes, I’m thinking of doing a caramel apple or apple crisp cheesecake next. Look out cupcakes, I think mini cheesecakes are the new delicacy in my house!

And of course Fall is my favorite because Thanksgiving is coming!!

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If you’ve never made cheesecake before, do not fear! I found these mini pumpkin cheesecakes easier to make than the large since you don’t need to mess with a spring pan. Just grab some paper muffin cups and a muffin tin. And instead of making the larger crust, you are placing tiny crusts into the bottom of each muffin liner. Here’s the recipes…

Oatmeal Crust (Gluten Free)

1 stick of butter (softened) (1/2c.)

1 cup of oatmeal (I used old fashioned oats)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Cream the three ingredients together until well combined and spoon about a tablespoon into the muffin cups. Press down to form crust – I used a small cup to press down into the circular form.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mixture

2 packages of cream cheese at room temperature (the boxed kind)

1 cup of pumpkin puree (I used the canned Libby’s 100% Pumpkin)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and pumpkin puree. On low, add sugar until well combined. Still on low, add the cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and ground cloves. Then add one egg at a time until creamed together. Make sure the mixture is not lumpy and is a thick creamy consistency. Once mixed, use a 1/4 measuring cup to pour over the crusts in the muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, leave in muffin tin to cool for 15 minutes. Then remove from muffin tin and place in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.                                                                                                                                                                    IMG_20131003_200656

For my first run, I think I used a little bit too much into each muffin tin. Just be sure to take into account that the mixture will rise. If you stick with the 1/4 cup measurement, you should be fine.

These can be topped with so many different things to suit your tastes or whatever you have in your kitchen arsenal. Search google for whatever may suit your taste.

I chose to top mine with chocolate covered almonds that I placed into a bag and crushed into little pieces. These provided a great additional texture and the chocolate and almond flavors went well with the pumpkin cheesecake mixture.

Good luck and happy baking!

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