Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites (No Refined Sugar, Grain-free and Gluten-free Options)
I miss you guys! What’s happening? What’s new? How’s your pumpkin carving/Halloween costuming/PSL consumption going this year?
We are a bit of a Halloween-neutral family. We will dress up if there’s a party to go to, take the kids trick-or-treating, buy a few pumpkins and hit the fall festival scene, but we don’t love Halloween. We like it just fine, but it’s not our favorite holiday. I am always last minute with the costumes and the candy and what not. This year E had planned on being a ghost (BEST DIY COSTUME EVER, SCORE!) but changed his mind and now wants to be a plane (!!?!?! How do I make that!?!) So now the plan is make a cardboard plane, and then little L can go along and dress as a cloud. We’ll see if this plan actually goes forward.
Making these cheesecake bites provided me the perfect opportunity to continue procrastinating on the costumes this week. There was a last minute opportunity to bring a dessert to our house church and I wanted to make something pumpkin-y, but not TOO pumpkin-y, if you know what I mean. Dessert spreads can really be pumpkin overkill this time of year.
The first thing that came to mind was to pumpkin-ize this old recipe for chocolate-covered cheesecake bites. I remember really loving them the first time around and I thought they’d be a great bite-size party treat. I tweaked the recipe a bit and everything turned out perfectly. I love when that happens!
If you are grain-free or gluten-free, you can still make this recipe. Try Carrie’s grain-free graham crackers or Shauna’s gluten-free graham crackers. If you are dairy-free/vegan/paleo, I feel for you, I love you, but this one’s not gonna work for you. BUT, behold these amazing-looking vegan pumpkin cheesecake pops! They look very similar and would totally work for you, yay! Everyone’s tummies are happy.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (regular, gluten-free or grain-free as needed)
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 5 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (substitute more cream cheese here if you prefer)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (I used coconut sugar, you could use date sugar as well)
- ½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 16 ounces chocolate for melting (refined-sugar free, if necessary)
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- more crushed graham crackers, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with foil and grease with butter or non-stick spray.
- To make the crust: Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in a small dish. Press mixture evenly into your pan and bake 8-12 minutes, or until light golden and fragrant.
- Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
- To make the filling: Beat cream cheese, mascarpone (if using) and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add in yogurt/sour cream, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat until just combined. Pour mixture over the crust and bake 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake is slightly puffed and the center is set. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Refrigerate until chilled (about 2 hours) then place in the freezer, 8 hours or overnight.
- To coat: Once the cheesecake is frozen, lift it out of the pan and gently peel away the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the cheesecake into 36 squares. Place in the freezer until you’re ready to dip them.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or double-boiler until smooth. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Dip the squares, one at a time, in the chocolate. Let the excess drip off and place on the prepared sheet. Top with graham cracker crumbs, if using. Then refrigerate or freeze until the chocolate is set.
- Trim excess chocolate, if necessary, and serve cold. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.