Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites with Pecans & Bacon (Gluten-Free)
Caramel. Over pumpkin-flavored cheesecake. Sprinkled with pecans and that lovely nectar of the gods–bacon.
Do I have your attention?!
For years, I’ve made some variation of this Pumpkin Cheesecake as part of our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve always added whipped cream, pecans and a drizzle of caramel over the top to accent the fall-inspired flavors of this decadent dessert.
But this year I got a brainstorm: Bacon.
Yes, bacon! I was convinced that bacon could bring the already incredible cinnamon and ginger flavors of the pumpkin cheesecake to new levels of deliciousness.
And after putting together this recipe (and hearing the “oooohs” and “ahhhs” from my family) my suspicions were confirmed: This bacon and caramel pumpkin cheesecake sensation was something that had to be shared.
To the point: This recipe was flat out incredible!
No, this pumpkin cheesecake is not low-fat. And it’s probably not very healthy for you (although the crust is gluten-free).
But once a year on Thanksgiving, I think this indulgence is more than alright, don’t you?
Enjoy this dish with your family’s celebrations. Happy Thanksgiving!
Important Recipe Tips for Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecans & Bacon
You can make the recipe into a traditional round cheesecake shape, but how cute is it to make little muffin-sized cheesecake bites using a silicone muffin pan?
This way everyone can give this easy cheesecake recipe a try (and still eat a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie too)!
If you do decide to make cheesecake bites, it’s really important that you use a silicone muffin pan (and not a regular muffin pan) because the silicone keeps the crust and cheesecake from sticking to the cup.
You don’t want to go through the work of making your beautiful pumpkin cheesecake and then have it stick to the pan, right?! Ugh!
Plus, these silicone muffin pans are pretty handy for making muffins, mini quiches, cupcakes, mini cakes, and so much more! I use mine all the time!
However, if you prefer the traditional cheesecake shape (and cheesecake slices), simply create the crust in a springform pan (or buy a pre-made crust) and then pour the pumpkin cheesecake mixture into the pan. Bake for about 30-45 minutes longer than if you were making the cheesecake into muffin-sized bites.
NOTE: The gluten-free crust is an adaptation of a recipe in my all-time favorite Paleo cookbook Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. Part of the pumpkin cheesecake recipe is inspired by this one from The Jenny Evolution.
Carmel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites with Pecans & Bacon (Gluten-Free)
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 16 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 2 lbs light cream cheese (or Neufchatel Cheese)
- 2 cups cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- Can of whipped topping (not the spoonable kind in a tub)
- jar of pre-made caramel
- 1/2 cup whole pecans (plus about 2 tbsp chopped)
- 4-5 bacon slices, cooked and cut into 1.5 inch wedges (plus 1-2 slices that are crumbled)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add dry crust ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon) to a small mixing bowl and stir until combined.
- Make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add in the wet crust ingredients (coconut oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract). Stir the wet ingredients together, and then slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- The crust mixture should be crumbly but firm enough that it sticks to itself when pressed with a spoon. If the crust looks too dry, add more coconut oil (one teaspoon at a time) until its sticky and holds together well.
- Press the crust mixture into each cup in the silicone muffin pan (about 2 tablespoon of crust mixture into each cup). Again, don't forget to use a silicone muffin pan if you're making muffin bites (and not a regular muffin pan) because the silicone keeps the crust and cheesecake from sticking to the cup! If you're making a traditional cheesecake shape, press the entire mixture onto the bottom of a springform pan
- Cook the crust in the preheated oven (5-7 minutes for the cheesecake bites; and 10-12 minutes if making a traditional cheesecake size).
- After the crust has cooked, place the pan on an oven rack and allow it to cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, let's start making the delicious cheesecake filling! Mix the cream cheese and sugar with a handheld or standing mixer.
- Once these have been combined, add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and mix on a low speed until combined (don't overmix).
- Gently mix in the sour cream.
- Spoon the cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust (about 1/4 cup liquid to each cup for the cheesecake bites; and the entire mixture over the crust if making the traditional cheesecake shape).
- Place muffin pan or springform pan in oven heated 325 degrees F. Place a small baking pan with a few cups of water in it on the rack underneath the cheesecake (this increases the humidity of the cooking environment and helps the cheesecake cook better).
- Cook cheesecake until outsides and center look firm (about 1 hour for cheesecake bites and 1 hour 30 minutes for traditional cheesecake shape).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. You're going to be tempted to take them out sooner (it will smell so good in your house!) but don't do it!
- Once the cheesecake is cool, remove the cheesecakes from the muffin pan by running a butter knife along the edge of each cup and then using a spoon to carefully lift them out onto a plate or serving tray. If using a springform pan, remove the springform edge.
- Arrange the pecans on the cheesecake and, using a knife dipped in caramel, carefully drizzle caramel over the cheesecake.
- Top with whipped topping. Place a 1.5 inch piece of bacon in the center of the whipped topping, and sprinkle the chopped pecans and bacon over the top. Drizzle more caramel over the whole thing if you're feeling especially decadent. Do this for each cheesecake bite or in several places on a whole cheesecake.
- Slice (if cooking as a whole cheesecake), serve and enjoy!
Other Gluten Free Thanksgiving or Fall Recipes You’ll Love:
4 Dairy Free Creamers Perfect for Fall
Healthy Easy Pumpkin Muffins Recipe
Pear & Gorgonzola Salad Pizza
Crock Pot Oatmeal with Apples
Butternut Squash Chicken Salad with Apple & Cranberries
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