Guest blog by Sarah Lodwick.
I have a somewhat obsessive addiction to the Food Network. On a particularly lazy Sunday, I stumbled upon Sandra Lee’s cheesecake cookies and decided I needed to jazz these up with the classic flavors of the holidays.
If you love pumpkin pie and cheesecake, these cookies are definitely a winner. If you and cheesecake are not the best of friends, these cookies will change your mind (they changed mine!).
This recipe can make anywhere from 12-24 cookies depending on the size of the cookie.
- 1 ¼ cups finely crushed graham crackers or 1 sleeve of uncrushed graham crackers
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter or margarine; softened
- 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (from the can!)
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- If you bought whole graham crackers (or were forced to because holiday shoppers are ruthless and left no graham cracker crumbs for you), break the graham crackers in half and pulse them a few times in a food processor until you get a fine, uniform crumb. If you don’t have a food processor (or just to relieve holiday stress), place graham crackers in a heavy duty Ziplock and beat them to a fine crumb with your hand, a rolling pin, or a hammer (if necessary).
- Cream together the softened stick of butter and the brown sugar with a hand mixer and add in egg white.
- Combine flour, baking powder and graham cracker crumbs. Add the brown sugar, butter and egg white mixture, and then mix! I prefer to use my hands to combine the crust ingredients here, but if you don’t like messy hands, use a spatula.
- Pack dough into an ice cream scoop to form perfect rounded portions. I prefer to put mine in a holiday cupcake liners, for a festive touch (and I hate washing dishes). Using your thumb, make an indent in the middle of each cookie dough mound. They should look like little tart crusts at this point.
- In a separate bowl, use a mixer to combine the softened cream cheese, egg yolk, pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice and the vanilla extract. I love that bite of cream cheese, so I leave my filling a bit chunky. However, if you are a texture person, continue to mix the filling ingredients until they are smooth.
- Pour the batter into the middle of each graham cracker cookie. Don’t overfill! The filling will melt down a bit and you want the cookie crust to brown up a bit on the edge.
- Pop your baking or cupcake sheet into the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are a golden brown. Your kitchen should smell fantastic at this point.
- Allow cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes. I prefer to refrigerate these overnight and serve them the next day.