Introduction: Easy No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake!

About: I am a Mad Scientist and IT gal with a passion for projects. I love figuring out puzzles, solving problems, and finding out new ways to get things done!

This is an Autumn recipe of mine that I started making back when I was in middle school and it instantly became a hit for Halloween and Thanksgiving for years to come.  I've had friends and family all request my light and delicious pumpkin cheesecake for a variety of events including birthdays, holidays, and I-just-want-your-awesome-cheesecake-days.

What You Will Need:
2 Boxes of No-Bake Cheesecake Mix ( I used the Jell-O brand's home-style cheesecake mix.)
1 Can Pumpkin Puree (or 1-1/2 Cups)
1 8-oz package of Cream Cheese (softened, leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1-1/2 Sticks of Butter (Softened / Melted)
1 Package Almond Windmill Cookies (Also acceptable are molasses cookies, oatmeal cookies, or gingersnaps)

Also Gather:
2 Mixing Bowls
Measuring Cups / Spoons
Springform Pans (This will make a deep 10" cheesecake or two shorter 8" cheesecakes)
Gallon-sized Zip-lock Bag
Hammer / Mallet / Smashy Thing

Step 1: How Bout Them Cookies?

Open up that package of cookies.  After enjoying one or two (or five...) with a glass of milk, dump the rest into a gallon-sized ziplock bag.

Proceed to smash the living calories out of the cookies with your hammer / mallet / smashy thing.  REALLY let your rage out.  Stress from school, anger towards your boss, frustration with general people, just LET THOSE COOKIES HAVE IT.  You want mostly a fine powder, but it is okay to have a few chunks in there too.

Step 2: Making the Crust

To make the crust, you will first want to take the crust-mix packs from your boxes of no-bake cheesecake mix.  Open them up and dump them into a mixing bowl.    Add in your smashed cookies.

Next, add 1-1/2 sticks of melted/softened butter to your cookie/crust blend, and toss well until all of the crumbs are well coated.  Make sure that you can press the crust mixture against the side of the bowl.  If it is too loose / dry, add more melted/softened butter, 1 Tbsp at a time.  

Once your crust mixture is at the right consistency, press down into the bottom and sides of the spring-form pan to create the desired shape and thickness of crust.  This crust is SO GOOD, I recommend a thick crust.

Step 3: Just Beat It

The best way to soften cream cheese is to leave it out on the counter for an hour or so.  Or, you can quickly soften cream cheese by microwaving in 10 second intervals for 1-2 minutes.  This will make it easier to blend it in with the rest of the ingredients without any unblendable lumps.

Mix together the entire can of pumpkin puree with the whole package of cream cheese.  Cream together using your hand mixer until you have a smooth, slightly stiff mixture.  Make sure there are no lumps left in your creamy-pumpkin-cheese-puree-mix.

Step 4: Mix It Up!

Add in the packets of cheesecake mix and the required amount of milk (listed on the box) to the pumpkin-cream-cheese-puree.  

Mix together until everything is well blended, smooth, and a consistent color / texture.

Add in:

1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Blend the sugar and spices into the mixture until thick and speckled.

Step 5: Setting the Cheesecake

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared crust.  You can either spread the mixture flat, or dome the top of the cheesecake.

Refrigerate for at least 1-1/2 hours before removing from spring-form pan.  

Step 6: Enjoy!

You now have your own delicious holiday dessert!  Serve at Halloween for an elegant alternative to classic over-sweetened desserts, or swap-out the traditional Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie for this light and delicious dish.

No matter who you share with (or if you just keep it to yourself!) everyone who tries this cheesecake will be back begging for more.

Store under a loose cover in the fridge.

For more awesome recipes and fun projects, visit my blog, The Procrastibaker!

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