Happy Thanksgiving Evelybody!! I can get a little Asian when I get excited! Thanksgiving is such a fantastic time of year. I just get so excited about it! Aside from all the fabulous food, it’s just really nice to have a reminder to take time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. The past 3 months for my husband and I have been a season of transition, growth and lots of change. Good….no GREAT change….but also very scary change. And when your in the middle of it and not sure what the next week, month or year will look like you can begin to focus on the stress of it all and what you need to do get where you want to go but sometimes it’s really nice to remember you can only “do” so much and sometimes you just need to “be”. Be content with where you are, where you are being challenged, where you are growing and most importantly what you have. So that’s what I’m focusing on this Holiday season….just being. One of the girl’s in my small group at church said it best when she said, “when you can just be that is true freedom!”.
Now just “being” does not mean I will not be baking! No way! I don’t know if any of you guys are this way, but baking is incredibly therapeutic for me. I found so much comfort in creating delicious sweet treats and sharing them with those I love. Like this ridiculously easy pumpkin cheesecake with hazelnut toffee topping. I love love love this pumpkin cheesecake recipe!! It’s light but not too fluffy that it looses the pumpkin pie mouth feel with tons of flavor from condensed sweetened milk and maple syrup. The trick is getting the cream cheese good and fluffy before adding the eggs and other ingredients and adding eggs that are at room temperature. This will help keep the cheesecake from becoming to dense and give it a good volume. I also like to go a little heavy on the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. I really like a pumpkin cheesecake that tastes like true Thanksgiving with tons of fall flavors. This year for the pumpkin cheesecake, I also decided to go with a Maple Hazelnut Toffee topping, honestly because I had some extra hazelnuts left over from a Nutella cookie I made but you could really use any type of chopped nuts you like. Pecans, walnuts, almonds would all be fantastic! I also made the crust out of a mixture of Oreo crumbs and graham cracker crumbs but you can be creative here as well. Gingersnaps, vanilla wafers or combinations of all four would all work as well.
This is a recipe where I do recommend bringing the eggs to room temperature when mixing the batter. For most of my cookie recipes, there is such little egg it the batter that it doesn’t really matter if you’re eggs come straight from the fridge, but in this recipe, room temperature eggs incorporate much better with the fat in the cream cheese and give your cheesecake better volume.
Like any cheesecake make sure you make this far enough in advance to allow time for it to cool, overnight is best. Once you make this pumpkin cheesecake once, you will have to make it every year….it’s that good!
|Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray.|
|Melt the butter in a large microwave bowl and add the sugar, oreo crumbs and graham cracker crumbs. Stir to combine and press down into the bottom of your spring form pan. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.|
|In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time and mix to incorporate. Mix in the pumpkin, condensed milk, maple syrup. Next add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and salt and mix until light a fluffy.|
|Pour the pumpkin batter into the prepared crust and tap on the counter to release some of the air bubbles. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until the cheesecake is set. It may be a little jiggly in the center. Let cool for an hour and cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours or overnight.|
|Make the hazelnut topping when you are ready to serve. In a medium sauce pan, toast the nuts for a minute and add in the maple syrup. Cook until the syrup boils and thickens all together, pour on top of the cheesecake.|
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