Move over pumpkin pie! These mini salted caramel pumpkin cheesecakes are the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert. Full of delicious Fall flavors, these mini cheesecakes have a crunchy gingersnap crust and a smooth and creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling all drenched in a rich homemade salted caramel. Topped with a swirl of freshly whipped cream, these mini desserts will be the hit of your holiday dinner!
1 ¼ cup crushed gingersnap cookies
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 ounces (1.5 packages) cream cheese, room temperature
⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup canned pumpkin puree, room temperature
¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, room temperature and whisked gently
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBSP confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1–2 TBSP premium bourbon (optional)
Pull all of your ingredients and leave on the counter to come to room temperature. Cube the cream cheese and place in the mixing bowl to help speed up this process. Room temperature ingredients help reduce mixing time.
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325˚ F.
Place the gingersnap cookies in a food processor and pulse until the consistency of breadcrumbs.
Using a fork, mix together the gingersnap crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a medium bowl.
Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. I find the foil liners work best. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of gingersnap crust into each liner. Use a flat-bottomed bottle to press down the crumbs.
Bake crusts in a preheated oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before adding the cheesecake filling.
Use a hand mixer on low to mix together cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, vanilla and spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt). Mix on low for another minute.
Add in the whisked egg– fully incorporating the egg before turning off the mixer. Use a sturdy spatula to make a final turn of the filling and make sure all the of the ingredients have been mixed in. Firmly tap the bowl on the counter at least 5 times to release any air bubbles. You will be able to see little bubbles pop at the surface of the batter.
Transfer 3-4 tablespoons of filling into each cupcake liner. This is enough filling to fill the cupcake liner just about to the top.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 18-21 minutes until the centers are set. Do not open the oven until around the 18-minute mark.
Let the cheesecakes cool on a wire rack at room temperature for one hour. After one hour, place the pan in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Once chilled, top with homemade salted caramel, freshly whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add brown sugar and stir to combine.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken as it cooks.
Add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt and stir to combine completely. Be careful as cream may splatter a bit when added.
Remove from heat and let cool before transferring to a bowl or jar to cool to room temperature.
Place whipping cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low until combined and then increase speed to high, mixing until soft peaks form.
Remove the bowl from mixer and add bourbon if desired. Use a hand held whisk to continue mixing until cream forms firm peaks. Do not over beat.
Use a tablespoon to dollop whipped cream on top of cheesecakes. Or place the freshly whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a large star attachment and pipe swirls on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.
Store in the refrigerator tightly covered for up to 4 days. Top with caramel and whipped cream just before serving.