Mini-Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Salted-Caramel Crunch Topping
These little mini-pumpkin cheesecakes are a crowd favorite because they look almost as good as they taste! For a little extra “sparkle,” top each cheesecake with some pre-made salted-caramel crunch. If you can’t find any in your local grocery store, you can order some online here:
You can also top with your favorite caramel sauce or some chopped nuts before serving. For a more minimalist approach, simply sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon on top of the whipped cream.
1 ½ c. crushed gingersnap cookies (approximately 25-30 cookies)
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 t. salt
3/4 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 T. Greek yogurt
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. ground ginger
½ t. ground cloves
Salted Caramel Crunch (pictured)
In a large glass bowl, blend 1 pint of heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract with a hand or immersion blender until it doubles in size and changes texture. Then, drizzle maple syrup into the bowl and continue blending until the mixture is light and fluffy. Set aside or place in refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24-cup mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Put cookies in a large heavy-duty freezer bag and cover with a towel. Pound bag with a meat mallet or rolling pin until cookies are uniformly crushed into very small pieces. (This can also be done in a food processor).
Transferred crushed cookies to a glass bowl and add melted butter. Stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.
Note: Add a little more melted butter to hold cookie crumb mixture together, if necessary. However, do not add too much or the butter will compete with the flavor of the gingersnap crust.
Divide cookie crumb mixture into 24 equal parts and press into the bottom of each muffin cup firmly with your fingers to form a crust. Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, brown sugar, and salt with a hand-held mixer. Add pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt to cream cheese mixture and continue beating until combined.
Open egg in a separate bowl before adding to the cream cheese mixture. Then blend in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Continue blending until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the batter.
Evenly divide pumpkin cream cheese mixture between the 24 muffin-tin cups, placing on top of the pre-baked cookie crust. Fill each cup slightly higher than the edge of the pan.
Place muffin tin on center rack of oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and the pumpkin mixture has set. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing mini-cheesecakes from tin. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.
To serve, top with whipped cream and salted-caramel crunch or your favorite caramel sauce. If using homemade whipped cream, spoon it into a plastic sandwich bag and cut a small corner off one bottom side. Pipe onto individual mini-cheesecakes for greater control.