One of my favorite things about the fall is not pumpkin, but it’s definitely the Pumpkin Spice Flavor. Although I’m the only person in the world who won’t drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks (sacrilege, I know), I still like using pumpkin spice in other ways throughout the Fall.
Even though I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin flavor (although I really love other types of squash), I got the chance from Darden Restaurants (They own Yard House, The Olive Garden, and Red Lobster among others) to sample some of their newest pumpkin desserts. The one that stuck out to me most? The Pumpkin Cheesecake from the Olive Garden.
Not only was the cheesecake really smooth and velvety, it had an amazing crust with great texture. The best part to me? It wasn’t completely overwhelming with pumpkin flavor.
I decided to recreate the cheesecake at home, but I knew that an entire cheesecake in my house was a terrible idea for both Bryan and I. We both have a crazy sweet tooth, and no room for an entire cheesecake in the fridge. I decided to go with Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bites instead.
I believe this recipe could be done two ways – with the pumpkin, or without it. I chose to be a little more authentic, and go with using the pulp that I carved out of a real pumpkin (the real reward is the pumpkin seeds, just sayin’). You get the taste of fresh pumpkin, in your cheesecake, which some people will absolutely love, BUT you could also get away with just using spices (Star Anise, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice). That’s what they do with your coffee at Starbucks!
Check the recipe below for the cheesecake bites. I want to say Bryan at nearly 10 on the day that I made them. I let them sit in the fridge for a few days before I had time to photograph them – he was itching to eat them then too ;-).
Also- Leave a comment below about your favorite way to use pumpkin in the fall – Your comment enters you to win a $30 gift card to one of the Darden Restaurants.