Pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite holiday dessert. I LOVE me some pumpkin-goodies this time of year, but not the artificial treats like pumpkin spice lattes or that pumpkin-spiced creamer they sell in the refrigerator section at the grocery store for your coffee (yuck). I want the real deal. These cheesecake bites are not only made with 100% real pumpkin (and yummy spices like allspice to complement it), they are so simple to make without any baking required. I equally love the graham cracker and toffee crumbly and crunchy crust that I came up with for the base. SUPER YUM!!! I dip mine in dark chocolate as a finish however this step is completely optional. You can enjoy them with or without dipping in chocolate. They make the perfect hostess gift too!
I have a feeling that I will be posting some uber-healthy recipes very soon as the fall has me enjoying way too many fattening and decadent goodies and my jeans are starting to get tight already (Oops!). Until then I hope you enjoy these and the other cold-weather recipes I have been posting such as my as my Pumpkin Vodka Sauce with Sage, Romano, Sausage and Penne. (Also very creamy and decadent but so savory and rich.)
RECIPE TUNES (because everything is always better with music)
For the crust
- 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heath bar bits (pictured below as packaged but if you cannot find these you can use any chocolate toffee that you love and crush it in a food processor).
For the filling
- 8 oz cream cheese (I suggest using the full-fat not low fat.)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (Canned as seen below.)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 cup whipped cream topping of your choice. (Cool whip or tru-whip for example.)
You’ll also need
- waxed paper
- small square or rectangular brownie pan
- cooking spray
For the finish (OPTIONAL)
- 1-2 bags of dark chocolate melting wafers (See picture at the bottom for reference.) How many bags to get depends on the ones you buy because some bags sold such as the Ghirardelli ones pictured below are smaller than the bags you get at the craft stores which are also pictured below. You need to have enough chocolate that when it is melted in a double boiler you can dunk the frozen cheesecake bites into it, so it needs to be deep enough after melting it for dipping if that makes sense?
- More toffee bits to sprinkle on top after dipping in chocolate. I recommend having about 2-3 cups set aside for this.
- Spray your pan with cooking spray and line it with wax paper as seen here.
- Combine all of your crust ingredients except for the toffee bits into a food processor and pulse them until they are well mixed as seen here.
- Now add the toffee bits and mix them in with a spoon or spatula.
- Gently press the crust into the bottom of your pan. Do NOT push it down super-tightly or smooth it on top, you want it to have some cracks and texture so when you add your pumpkin mixture on top of it they adhere together well. Sprinkle the crust lightly with some more toffee bits as seen here.
- Combine the first six ingredients of the filling above (everything except for the whipped topping) into your food processor and mix until everything is creamy and smooth and then add in your whipped topping and pulse it just enough to mix it in without losing all of its fluffiness. A few seconds at a time until it is mixed in fairly well – it doesn’t need to be perfect. It is okay if you see some streaks of white where the whipped topping is not fully blended. You will spread it in the next step which will spread it all better together.
- Spread your pumpkin mixture on top of your crust.
- Top off with more toffee bits and gently press them into the pumpkin mixture as seen here.
- Freeze for 4 hours or more until it is solid enough to cut into squares.
- When it is frozen remove the entire dish from your pan by flipping it upside down and peeling off the wax paper. Turn it right-side up. Quickly cut your pumpkin bars into whatever size pieces you prefer. Place your bars back into the freezer in an airtight container. You can defrost them and serve them as is OR you can continue to the next steps if you want to dip them in chocolate and top them with more toffee.
- Melt your chocolate discs using a double boiler.
- Set up a rack where chocolate can drip through with wax paper under it as seen here. Place your extra toffee bits beside it to garnish after dipping your cheesecake bites.
- When chocolate is fully melted and smooth take only 5-6 cheesecake bites out of the freezer at a time and dip each one into the chocolate then onto the toffee bits (or sprinkle them on top) and place on the rack to dry.
- When they are all dipped you can freeze them until the day you plan to serve them. They will defrost within an hour when ready to eat.