Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin pie gets more time in the spotlight than any other pumpkin dessert, but there are many delicious pumpkin options out there and this Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust is an excellent one! It is perfect for any fall or holiday baking occasion when you want pumpkin, but want something different …

The post Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust appeared first on Baking Bites.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin pie gets more time in the spotlight than any other pumpkin dessert, but there are many delicious pumpkin options out there and this Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust is an excellent one! It is perfect for any fall or holiday baking occasion when you want pumpkin, but want something different than a traditional pie – or if you’re simply a cheesecake lover that wants a fall option.

The cheesecake combines the natural sweetness of pumpkin puree with the addictive tang of cream cheese, yielding a dessert that has a nice balance between the two. It has just the right touch of pumpkin spice in the filling and plenty of ginger in the crust.

The cheesecake is particularly easy to make for two reasons. First, the filling is added to the crust while the crust is still hot from baking, which really cuts down on prep time for this dessert. Second, the cheesecake does not require a water bath, yet yields a light and silky cheesecake.

Both the filling and crust for this dessert are made in the food processor. The crust should be prepared first, since it will need to start baking while you prepare the filling. In the food processor, pulverize the cookies into crumbs and pouring them into a 9-inch springform pan to bake. You can use any brand of crispy gingersnap cookies that you like, so long as they have some spice to them. In the event that you are fresh out of gingersnaps, you can substitute graham crackers and add in some addition spices to bring in the extra layer of flavor that you get from the gingersnaps.

Once the crust is in the oven, simply wipe out the food processor bowl and start to make the filling. A food processor is a fantastic gadget for making cheesecake because it does such a good job of eliminating the lumps from the batter, guaranteeing a cheesecake that is ultra-smooth when it comes out of the oven.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

The finished cheesecake is creamy and rich, yet feels less dense and not quite as heavy as some other cheesecakes. A restrained use of spices ensure that they compliment the pumpkin without overwhelming the cream cheese flavor. While the filling might only be mildly spiced, the crust is not. The spicy crust – my gingersnaps had a bit of black pepper for some extra spice, in addition to a strong ginger flavor – is a nice contrast both in texture and flavor to the pumpkin filling. In short? It’s delicious and well worth a spot in your “must bake” pumpkin recipe list alongside pumpkin bread and classic pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Gingersnap Crust
4 – 4.5 oz gingersnap cookies* (approx 1 1/4 cup crushed cookies)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

Filling
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Take out a 9-inch springform pan.
Make the crust: Process gingersnaps in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground. Add in all remaining ingredients and process until crumbs resemble wet sand. Transfer to 9-inch springform pan.
Spread crumbs evenly over the base of the pan and press down firmly to form an even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is browned around the edges.

Make the filling: Prepare the filling while the crust is baking. Rinse out the food processor bowl or use a damp paper towel to remove all cookie crumbs. Combine all filling ingredients in the bowl and process for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is smooth and well-combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl 2-3 times.
When crust is baked, pour the filling into the pan while it is still hot from the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake filling for 35-40 minutes, or until filling is set and jiggles only slightly when the pan is gently tapped.
Allow cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.

Serves 10.

*If you don’t have gingersnaps, you can use graham crackers, but add in a 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of black pepper to give them some spice!

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Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies

Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies
A hot peppermint mocha is an indulgent way to take off the chill on a cold winter night. I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint – and it is even better once you throw a little bit of coffee in to the mix! My Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies are a holiday …

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Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies
A hot peppermint mocha is an indulgent way to take off the chill on a cold winter night. I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint – and it is even better once you throw a little bit of coffee in to the mix! My Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies are a holiday treat inspired by the hot coffee drink. They’re easy to make and just might become a new family favorite.

The coffee flavor is all in the brownie layer. Instant coffee powder is an easy way to infuse coffee into the batter because it dissolves easily. You can also use instant espresso powder or Starbucks Via, which both give a potent coffee flavor to the chocolate because they are a bit more intense than most instant coffee powders. Either way, coffee powder and the dark chocolate combine to give the brownies a rich mocha flavor.

Honestly, you could stop here because mocha brownies are delicious on their own. That said, adding a peppermint cream cheese swirl makes them wonderfully decadent and perfect for the holidays! Peppermint is a potent flavor, which is why I used it only in the cream cheese and not in the brownie batter. With two layers of flavor, you get nice contrast in every bite and get the full peppermint mocha experience!

Since these brownies have two layers, they take a bit longer to bake than some other brownie recipes. While it may be tempting to pull them out of the oven just as the cheesecake layer appears to be set, resist that temptation because the brownie base needs a little extra time. You can’t go wrong with a fudgy brownie – and these are fudgy! – but you don’t want the brownies to be too wet on the bottom because that will make the difficult to slice and pull out of the pan.

Due to the cream cheese and overall fudginess of the brownies, I recommend chilling these before slicing. Stored in the refrigerator, they will keep well for several days after baking – if they last that long.

Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies

Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tbsp chopped candy canes or peppermints

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
Make the brownies: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and instant coffee until dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Add in flour and salt and stir until batter is smooth and well-combined. Pour into prepared pan and set aside while you prepare the cream cheese mixture.
Make the cream cheese topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until smooth. Drop in large dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters together with a butter knife. Sprinkle chopped candy canes over the top of the brownies.
Bake for 40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set and the topping is very lightly browned. A knife inserted into the cream cheese mixture should come out clean.
Cool in the pan completely, then refrigerate before slicing and serving.

Makes 16 large brownies.

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Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

I always love the opportunity to add a cheese plate to a meal. I particularly enjoy cheese plates that include a little honey or honeycomb with the cheese, adding a sweet contrast to some of the funkier or saltier cheeses on the plate. This Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust is inspired by …

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Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

I always love the opportunity to add a cheese plate to a meal. I particularly enjoy cheese plates that include a little honey or honeycomb with the cheese, adding a sweet contrast to some of the funkier or saltier cheeses on the plate. This Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust is inspired by a cheese plate! The rich cheesecake is made with honey to give it a deep sweetness that contrasts well with the tang of cream cheese, while the pecan crust adds a slightly savory crunch for a texture that sets off the creamy cheesecake.

The honey cheesecake filling is easy to make. It can be done in the food processor or with a hand mixer. The filling includes a generous amount of cream cheese and both sugar and honey. Since honey is so dense, I find that adding a bit of sugar to the filling gives the finished cheesecake a more balanced texture. The honey is where most of the flavor in this recipe comes from, so it is worth choosing a good one to work with. Choose a honey with a rich, citrusy flavor for best results – one that is a local/raw or made from wildflowers is a good place to start. IF you work with a honey that is too mild, you won’t get as much honey flavor in the finished cheesecake.

You can use a prebaked graham cracker crust with this honey cheesecake filling, but you won’t get that delicious nuttiness of the pecans, which add a lot of depth to the dessert. As a result, I really encourage you to try the crust for this recipe, too. It starts with graham cracker crumbs and toasted pecans. You’ll need about 8-10 sheets of graham crackers to make enough crumbs and about 1 cup of toasted pecans. Both can be ground into crumbs in the food processor. You may have a bit extra if you have a standard (vs deep dish) pie crust, but when it comes to crumb crusts it is better to have a little extra crumb to work with than not enough!

The crumb crust has a delicious hint of honey from the graham crackers and a warm nuttiness from the pistachios. It’s not overly sweet on its own, although it does have a small amount of sugar added to it. The crust does need to be prebaked, but the filling can be poured in while the crust is still hot, so this recipe doesn’t take all that much time from start to finish.

The cheesecake will be ready to eat as soon as it has cooled to room temperature, but I highly recommend refrigerating it overnight and serving it the next day. Once chilled, the creamy cheesecake will feel much richer. Even better, the honey flavor will be amplified after the cheesecake sits, so you’ll taste more honey in every bite. Serve with toasted pecans if you really love nuts, or top with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a bit of contrast!

Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely ground toasted pecans
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
7 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Honey Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make Graham Cracker Pecan Crust: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to toss together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake for 12 minutes on bottom oven rack. Remove from oven and set aside while filling is prepared.

Make Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in the honey, sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour into baked crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until center is just set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Serves 8-10.

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Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
There are plenty of chocolate cupcake recipes out there to choose from, but this indulgent recipe might just be my favorite. These Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes have a deep, dark chocolate flavor and are topped with a decadent dark chocolate ganache, delivering a double hit of chocolate in every bite. They are also …

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Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
There are plenty of chocolate cupcake recipes out there to choose from, but this indulgent recipe might just be my favorite. These Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes have a deep, dark chocolate flavor and are topped with a decadent dark chocolate ganache, delivering a double hit of chocolate in every bite. They are also filled with a vanilla bean cream cheese filling, adding just the right amount of contrast to all that chocolate.

The cupcake recipe is a classic dark chocolate cupcake, made with plenty of unsweetened cocoa powder to give it a deep and bittersweet flavor. If you’re a regular baker of chocolate cupcakes, you’ll also notice that there are equal amounts of cocoa powder and flour in this recipe. This creates a light and tender cake, rather than a dense and brownie-like one. This lighter texture is important because it lets the cake stand up to the rich filling and topping without the whole dessert seeming to heavy.

The cheesecake filling is easy to make, with just butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Vanilla bean paste is going to give your cheesecake filling a beautiful finished look, however extract can be substituted and will still provide a nice vanilla flavor. The filling isn’t overly sweet, so you should be able to taste the tang of cream cheese in every bite.

Chocolate ganache is the topping for these cupcakes. It is easy to make and produces a topping that is velvety smooth and rich. You can use chopped chocolate if you have a large block at home, but dark or semisweet chocolate chips will work just as well. Once the ganache is made, you’ll need to allow it to cool before you can pipe it onto your cupcakes. Give it a stir occasionally to check the consistency, but it should take somewhere from 30 – 45 minutes to thicken up enough to pipe.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
Cupcakes

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Chocolate Ganache<e/m>
12-oz dark or semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Cheesecake Filling
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch salt

Make the cupcakesPreheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Stir in the remaining flour until mixture is uniform. Divide evenly into prepared paper liners.
Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the ganacheIn a large bowl, combine chocolate chips and vanilla extract. In a small pot or microwave-safe measuring cup, bring heavy cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate. Allow mixture to sit for 1 minute, then slowly stir using a spatula until a smooth ganache forms. Set aside to cool for at least 30-45 minutes, until thickened enough to pipe.

Make the cheesecake filling. In a medium bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Blend in confectioners’ sugar and salt until uniform. Set aside.

Assemble: Using the cone method, insert a paring knife into the top of each cupcake and remove a cone of cake to create a cavity to fill. Cut off the base of the cone and save the “lid”. Fill cupcakes with cheesecake filling and replace the “lid” of the cupcake.
Transfer cooled ganache to a piping bag and pipe a generous swirl of ganache on top of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles and serve.

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