No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cinnamon and Caramel Swirl

Around this time last year, I dreamed about creating a pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon and caramel swirl. The days quickly turned into weeks, however, and I never got around to it. Soon Thanksgiving had come and gone, and the opportunity seemed lost.

I kept it in mind for this year, however, so I decided to try my hand at at it this month, and my family and I are equally delighted with the results.

This no-bake cheesecake is a luscious, elegant dessert worthy to be part of your Thanksgiving or a fall potluck or get together. Creamy, sweet pumpkin combines with morsels of warm cinnamon and swirls of creamy caramel in this rich dessert. The best part? It is so easy to make! If you want to make a dessert that requires minimal effort yet is sure to impress, then give this one a try! And as always, leave a comment in the comments section if you make it to let me know what you think!

NO BAKE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH CINNAMON AND CARAMEL SWIRL

Ingredients

  • 2 sleeves graham crackers (18 full graham crackers, equal to 3 cups finely crushed)
  • 2 T Saigon cinnamon, divided (or your preference of cinnamon)
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 c butter, melted
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar, divided
  • 1 c caramel sauce, store bought or homemade
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 c powdered sugar
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Cooking spray

Instructions:

Spray a springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Crush the graham crackers in segments in a sealed plastic freezer bag using a rolling pin or drinking glass. Place the crumbs in a mixing bowl and stir in 1 T cinnamon and salt, then add the melted butter and stir until combined. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture, then press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan, pressing the edges up the side by a half inch. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

In the meantime, prepare the cinnamon swirl mixture. Add the remaining tablespoon of cinnamon and ½ c brown sugar to the remaining graham cracker crumb mixture and mix until combined. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until peaks start to form, then add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, ½ c brown sugar, and vanilla, then add the whipping cream to the pumpkin mixture and mix until combined.

To assemble the cheesecake, spread 1/3 c of the caramel sauce over the center of the crust, then spread a half of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture over it. Add 6 spoonfuls of the cinnamon swirl mixture and caramel sauce to the top of the cheesecake mixture, alternating between the two, then use a butter knife and carefully slice through the cake to create swirls with the cinnamon mixture and caramel sauce. Next, spread the rest of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture over it, then drizzle the remaining 1/3 c caramel sauce over the top and slice through the top half again to form different patterns with the sauce. Spoon the remaining cinnamon mixture around the edges of the cheesecake to create a border. Chill 3-4 hours or until set before serving. Enjoy!

The Best of 2020

I have kept a cookie tin on top of my refrigerator for a good chunk of the year. It has come down a number of times throughout these last eight months, but only long enough for me to jot down a note or two to toss into the tin among the growing pile of past notes.

Collecting these scribblings has been a spin-off of a tradition that I have held for years. In the past, I have written the best of each year in the form of a list—one that often includes experiences, events, celebrations, visits with family, any trips taken, and even more minor details such as new songs I’ve heard that I’ve liked. The list includes anything and everything that made the year special to me.

 I used to compile this list at the end of December each year, but more recently, I have started making it over Thanksgiving weekend, adding the events and experiences of December as the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve have passed by. I’ve discovered that this weekend in particular is the perfect time to make the list for me, as it makes me more deeply aware of how generous God has been throughout the year, thus causing my heart to overflow with gratitude.

By mid-March, I recognized that the upcoming months would provide a difficult journey ahead, so I rummaged around the cupboard for the cookie tin and set off to starting my list in real-time, backdating the events and best moments of January and February to include in the container.

As the months have passed by, the tin has become a mound of colorful rectangles of paper—each one a testimony of God’s goodness and generosity in my life.

This Thanksgiving weekend, I plan to make myself a cup of decaf coffee or tea one evening after I get my son to bed, then I’ll take down the cookie tin and read each note, reminiscing over all the “bests” of this year. And once again, my heart will overflow with gratitude as I consider God’s kindness to me and His ever-present goodness, even in the midst of a year full of turmoil.

As we quickly approach the end of 2020, I want to encourage you to make a list of your own “bests” from this year as well. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just grab a piece of paper and start by listing whatever favorite moments come to mind. Next, take some time to think about each month and consider the best experiences from each one. Consult your calendar, day planner, journal, or even your social media account to jog your memory if you need to. Or ask family members what they remember or liked best about this year. It doesn’t really matter how you do it. What matters is remembering the special moments of this year and recognizing that not all was lost, nor was all of it bad. God’s presence has been with us as we have experienced the challenges and difficulties of this year, and He has still been kind and generous to us in the midst of it all.

For some of us, this has been the hardest year the world has seen in our lifetime. But if we take the time to sit down and list all the blessings God has bestowed upon us in this year, we may just see how beautiful it has also been. We may very well state what David stated in the Psalms:

“You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.”

Psalm 65:11