Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Myra Shaw

2-1/4 c. gingersnap crumbs (gingersnap cookies, crushed)
1-1/3 c. very finely chopped pecans
1-1/3 c. sugar, divided
2/3 c. butter, melted
2 (8 oz. ea.) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 c. pumpkin (cooked or canned)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. vanilla extract
Walnut halves or pieces

Preheat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs, pecans, 1/3 c. sugar, and melted butter. Press into bottom and 3/4 up sides of mini muffin tins (3 tins, that each would make 12 muffins). Bake 6 minutes. While crusts bake, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and 1 c. sugar. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat until creamy. Beat in eggs, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Stir in valinna extract. Spoon about 1 Tbsp. pumpkin mixture into each baked crust. Top each with a walnut half. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until set and just beginning to turn golden. Cool to room temperature, then chill in refrigerator 2 hours before removing cheesecakes from pans. After they are thoroughly chilled, these can be stored in plastic bags in the fridge until ready to serve. Preparing the crusts takes a while, but they are WELL worth it.

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