August 17, 2011

RECIPE: Mini Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bites

These are heavenly! Kind of a combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake. If you're making the bite-size mini's, they are a little time consuming. But it makes a HUGE batch--72-ish mini's. You could also make this into one big cheesecake in a spring form pan, or single-serve with regular size muffin pans.  I used the mini-muffin pan for these.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bites

4 (8 oz) packages light cream cheese, at room temperature
4 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon (plus some for garnish)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
cooking spray
canned cool whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a mini muffin tray with the muffin liners, and spray each one with a tiny amount of cooking spray.  Put 1/2 teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs in each liner, and pat down with the back of a spoon or your finger--you don't have to press hard, just press enough to flatten it out.

In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla.  Add the eggs one by one and process until smooth. Remove 1 1/4 cups of batter, and add the remaining sugar to that. In the remaining batter, add the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg and combine until smooth.

To fill the cups:
Using the pumpkin batter, fill each cup about 1/3 full.  Then using the white batter, put a tiny little dollop onto the pumpkin batter--about 1/4 tsp.  Then using the pumpkin batter again, fill each cup almost to the top. Put a tiny dollop of the white batter on top. Using a toothpick, swirl the white batter into the pumpkin batter just enough for it to swirl the colors together--don't mix it.

Put in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes--they will still be soft. As soon as you take them out, use a butter knife to remove them from the pan and let them cool. The tops will sink down a little.  Refrigerate about 2-3 hours before serving.  Using the aerosol can of cool whip, put a tiny dollop on top to fill in the little well that forms.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

These can be frozen--I froze my leftovers and ate one a couple days later, and it was still heavenly, if not more so than the first day!

Makes 72 bite-size cheesecakes.

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