My mom does so much for us. She doesn’t just make home-cooked meals; she invites her adult kids to stay for dinner. And, oh, you had friends stopping by? Well, why don’t they join us – of course they can bring their kids! She doesn’t just call to see if we are over our colds yet, she offers to pick up medicine, buys tissues and makes soup. And perhaps the biggest gift of all is that she heaps love on our son -three to four days a week as his primary caregiver while we work full time. My mom is a one-woman wonder, and – for so many reasons – I owe her big-time!
I try to show my appreciation in whatever small ways that I can. So, when she mentioned that she and my dad needed to bring a dessert to contribute to dinner last weekend, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to treat her. With all the pumpkin-flavored treats out for fall (lattes, ice cream – just about any sweet you can think of!), I thought I’d try Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares. They are a fun twist on fall desserts, and I like that the servings are small, but decadent.
To make Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares, start by preheating your oven to 325°F. While it’s warming up, grind the chocolate wafer cookies into crumbs. You can blend them in a food processor, or use those muscles! Since I don’t have a food processor, I put my cookies into a large, sealed bag and crushed them with a rolling pin.
When the cookies are down to crumbs, mix them with the melted butter.
Take the butter-coated cookie crumbs and press them into the bottom of a greased pan.
Bake the cookie layer for 10 minutes. When it’s done, remove from the oven.
In a food processor (or blender or mixer), combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice until it’s nice and creamy. You may need to use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to be sure that the spices mix in completely.
Add the pumpkin and softened cream cheese. Room temperature cream cheese is the key! If you get antsy, like I did, your cheesecake batter will be lumpy. I blended mine for a long time to try to smooth it out, but it’s never quite as good as if you had taken the proper steps at the beginning.
When the batter is smooth and creamy, spread it evenly over the partially baked crust. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the top is set.
While the cheesecake is baking, mix together the ingredients for the final layer: sour cream, vanilla and sugar. After the cheesecake comes out of the oven, spread the mixture on top. Return it to the oven and bake for five more minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then, place the pan in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
When you’re ready to serve your dessert (or in my case, when you’re ready to send the dessert off with your parents), cut it into 16 squares. Garnish the Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with a sprinkle of crushed wafer cookies, and you’re ready to entertain with the fall flavors of pumpkin and spice.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.