Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crusts

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October is here which means it is officially time to crank out the pumpkin recipes! Excited? I am! Last night we had the missionaries over for dinner and I made chili and cornbread. For dessert I had prepared these tasty little cheesecake bites. This was my first attempt at baking in my mini cheesecake pan and I had no idea what I was doing. Since I made my own recipe I was unsure of the baking/cooling time.... yeah, I winged it. Turns out that my guesses were pretty spot-on because these came out moist and oh so delicious! Happy October and let the pumpkin madness begin!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
1 package (8 oz) Original Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
½ c. pumpkin puree
¼ c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. heavy cream
¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or allspice)
¹⁄₈ tsp. nutmeg

For the crust:
8 gingersnap cookies
1 graham cracker
1½  tbsp. melted butter
1½ tsp. brown sugar
¼ c. pecans
pinch of salt

For the vanilla bean whipped cream:
1 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Seeds from ¼ a vanilla bean

Pumpkin pie spice for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a mini cheesecake pan with baking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind all ingredients for crust, except for the melted butter. The mixture should resemble slightly coarse crumbs. Remove mixture and pour melted butter over. Mix until crumbs are wet. Press into the bottom of each hole. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.
3. While crust is baking prepare filling beating together cream cheese, sugar and pumpkin puree until smooth. Add spices, vanilla, heavy cream and egg. Mix until just combined.
4. Pour filling over each crust, dividing evenly. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing cheesecakes (yes your cheesecakes will sink a little, this is normal).
5. Remove cheesecakes from pan using the bottom of a wooden spoon. Using a butter knife, remove metal bottoms and place cheesecakes in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
6. While cheesecakes are cooling, prepare vanilla bean whipped cream by fitting a chilled mixing bowl into your stand mixer. Add heavy cream, sugar and scraped vanilla bean seeds. Using the whisk attachment beat on high for 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks begin to form. Return to refrigerator until cheesecakes are ready to be served.
7. To assemble, using a mesh sieve, lightly dust cheesecakes with pumpkin pie spice before or after topping with a swirl of whipped cream. Enjoy!
Stephen + Natalie | Makes 12 mini cheesecakes using the Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan

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