If you like pumpkin pie, you will LOVE this cheesecake. It's the idea of pumpkin pie but improved so it's creamier, yummier and the perfect balance of cheesecake and pumpkin. I found the original recipe (almost already completely gluten free) here; http://blog.dollhousebakeshoppe.com/2011/11/mini-pumpkin-cheesecake-with-maple.html?m=1
I know pumpkin is traditionally a fall thing but this recipe is so good, it should be an all year round tradition.
We start off with an (optional) gluten free ginger cookie crust. An extra step but so worth it!
(PLUS, they're cookies so if you're not feeling the full on cheesecake, make a batch of these, with some pumpkin cream cheese filling for ginger-pumpkin whoopie pies! Here's a pumpkin cream cheese dip recipe to get you started; https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/28469/sweet-pumpkin-dip#sm.001rua8w7k58e1b104g1gznijtpy8
Or eat them with just some milk. They're good like that too.)
Gluten Free Ginger Cookies
3/4 cup shortening (for crispier cookies) or unsalted butter (for softer cookies)
3/4 cup sugar (plus some for rolling)
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups GF all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, molasses and eggs.
In another bowl, combine dry ingredients; stir into butter mixture.
Refrigerate for 2 hours. (However...I made them without refrigerating and they turned just fine!)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Scoop out dough and shape into 1/2-inch balls.
Roll into granulated sugar.
Arrange at least 3 inches apart on a baking sheet (they spread while baking).
Bake for 12-15 minutes. (Baking less time will give you a chewy cookie; baking more will make them crisp).
Cool on wire racks.
Makes about 24 cookies.
2 cups ginger cookie crumbs (I crushed the cooled cookies in a press & seal bag with a rolling pin. You may sub graham cracker if desired)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature (do not use light or low fat)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons packed brown
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 egg, room temperature
6 tablespoons sour cream (may sub heavy whipping cream)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
3 teaspoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease sides of 8" or 9" springform pan.
In a small bowl combine ginger snap crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into springform pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the sugars. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. On low speed, beat in the pumpkin and egg. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and cornstarch just until incorporated.
Do not over beat, this incorporates too much air into the batter, which can cause the cheesecake to rise and then sink during baking. Pour cheesecake filling evenly over prepared crust.
Place a baking pan filled with water in the center of the bottom rack, directly under the middle rack where your cheesecake will be. (The steam helps keep your cheesecake moist and reduces chances of cracking on top.)
Bake for about 1 hour. Do not over bake. Cheesecake will be done when the center is still a little jiggly and the edges are lightly golden brown. Once cheesecake is done baking, let it sit in the warm oven to rest, with the heat turned off and the oven door slightly opened just a crack, for about 1 more hour after baking. The center will continue to cook from the residual heat and set as it cools down.
After the hour of resting in the oven, remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely on a wire rack on the counter top. Once cheesecake is completely cooled, refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.