The bats are flapping their leathery wings against the Autumn breeze which carries the distant howl of a werewolf. Meanwhile, in an ancient castle teetering menacingly on a jagged cliff, a congregation of witches, ghouls and beasts guzzle down potions from bubbling cauldrons and laboratory beakers and dance the night away to the grizzly musical stylings of a five-piece jazz band of the undead. Children hop up and down neighborhood streets dressed as goblins, super heroes and troubled celebrities, all on a mission to seek out the one thing that can placate their mischievous nature on this Halloween night.... SWEETS!
Come the 31st of October, I know my sweet tooth gets extra sharp and my eyes get wide for anything of the sugary persuasion. So I ask you, what better to sooth this savage beast than the creamy, spicy, & perfectly crumbly 2nd winner of our Halloween Recipe Challenge: Organic Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares? That is of course a rhetorical question, the answer being... dreamy eyed, slack jawed awe.
This recipe was shared with us by Carrie, a lovely customer from our Lassens store in Thousand Oaks. Not only was this recipe so absolutely mouth watering, but it is SO easy to make!
Organic Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares
For the Crust:
1 cup flour (try Arrowhead Mills organic flour or do what I did and add ½ cup regular flour and ½ cup, you guessed it, Bob's Red Mill coconut flour, which adds a new dimension of soft texture and heavenly aroma )
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used Wholesome Sweeteners organic dark brown sugar)
1 stick butter (try Organic Valley unsalted cultured butter OR for a reduced fat option, 6 tablespoons of applesauce with 2 tablespoons Earth Balance natural buttery spread, which incidentally has come to permanently replace butter in my kitchen)
1/2 cup raw chopped walnuts (Lassens has great deals on delicious bulk nuts)
8 oz. cream cheese (Organic Valley cream cheese is organic and delectable)
1/2 cup sugar (I used Wholesome Sweeteners organic sugar)
2 eggs (try Organic Valley organic cage-free eggs)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (try Farmers Market Organic canned pumpkin or puree one of our organic pumpkin pie pumpkins yourself!)
1 tsp vanilla (try Simply Organics pure vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (try Frontier organic nutmeg)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (try Frontier organic cinnamon)
1/2 tsp ginger (try Spice Hunter organic ginger... or if you're cabinet space it getting limited, Spice Hunter's pumpkin pie spice blend makes as a great all-in-one option and it's great to go in just about anything that you want to make festive: from coffee to ice cream)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust, blend ingredients in food processor until a ball forms. It's really tempting to go to town on that ball of dough before you get a chance to make the cheesecake portion, but if you have the determination and restraint, I suggest you hold out because the more crust on this desert, the more scrumptious. Press ball into 8x8 pan and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Let crust cool.
Blend filling ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture over cooled crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set. Let cool and cut into squares and enjoy!
This recipe can be adapted easily for vegans by substituting
CREAM CHEESE with a dairy free cream cheese such as Follow Your Heart's vegan cream cheese
EGGS with flax or chia seed gel which can be made by adding 1Tb ground seed to 3Tb hot water. This = 1 large egg
BUTTER as I mentioned before with applesauce and Earth Balance natural buttery spread. We also have several other delicious vegan butter alternatives including Earth Balance coconut oil buttery spread (which I can't wait to try!)
Present this dish in lovely bite sized squares to your guests this Halloween and watch how, like magic, they disappear!
We are also now taking entries for our Thanksgiving Recipe Challenge! We're looking for the most unique and savory options for traditional, gluten-free and vegan Thanksgiving feasts! If you'd like to enter (and I sincerely hope you will), click on the link above of the Lassens store which you frequent most often. The link will take you to the Lassens facebook where you can share your recipe (and any pictures that you'd like for me to feature on this blog) right on the Lassens facebook wall. The winning recipes will be featured on this blog as well as in each Lassens location as FREE recipe cards for all of our Lassens customers to try and enjoy.
I hope you all have a safe, happy and healthy Halloween!