BooOoOo! It’s a plate of scary ghosts! Well… maybe these little ghosts right here are more cute and delicious than they are scary. With their soft pumpkin-and-spice center and their delicious ghostly-white chocolate coating they’re a perfect Halloween-themed snack! Trust me, they will be loved by kids and adults alike!
I’ve admitted to it before; I am not the best at baking and I usually prefer savory over sweet. But, Halloween is the time to indulge in buckets full of candy and I am not completely immune to sugar cravings either. Luckily for a novice baker like me these little ghost cheesecake truffles do not require any baking at all!
Wholegrain digestive biscuits are beaten into a fine crumb and mixed with roasted pumpkin, cream cheese, white chocolate and warming spices. The result? A perfectly soft and sticky filling that’s reminiscent of raw cookie dough… but without the salmonella scare that comes with raw eggs in cookie dough!
I’ve seen recipes similar to this one around (for cake-pops, truffles and the like), but I am always a bit surprised by how little pumpkin actually goes in these truffles. Most of these recipes ask for canned pumpkin puree as well, which I don’t think I can find here in Greece. Unfortunately, to keep the little cookie balls firm enough to hold their shape while being dunked in melted white chocolate, and strong enough to hold their shape after as well, it’s impossible to add loads and loads of pumpkin.
My solution: instead of using canned pumpkin puree, roast pieces of pumpkin in the oven and chop finely in a food processor to create tiny little chunks (not an actual puree!) that will be mixed into the cookie and cream cheese mixture. The end result is a light brown spiced cookie dough-like center with flecks of bright orange pumpkin bits scattered through. Make sure you read the recipe well: roast a bit more pumpkin than necessary (about 200g to end up with the 125g – 150g of pumpkin needed), as the pumpkin will and should lose some of its moisture while being cooked.
The recipe below yields about 20 ghosts, so this is a perfect treat to bring to a party, or to school, or work for Halloween! They can be kept up to 4 days in the refrigerator so they can be made some days in advance.
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Ghost Truffles (Halloween)
- 200g wholegrain digestive cookie crumbs
- 200g pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes*
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 75g cream cheese
- 100g white chocolate + 250g white chocolate for the shell and eyes
- Small piece of dark chocolate (for the eyes)
- *weight may go down while cooking; you should end up with about 150g cooked pumpkin. Can be substituted by 150g canned pumpkin puree.
- Prepare the pumpkin: roast peeled and cubed pumpkin in the oven on 180°C for 50 minutes, or until slightly soft. Remove pumpkin from the oven and let it cool until safe to handle. Weigh your cooked pumpkin and chop 125g - 150g (depending a bit on how much is left over after cooking) of cooked pumpkin in a food processor into a slightly chunky consistency (see photograph in post). Let it cool down.
- Place the digestive cookies in a plastic sandwich bag and hit them with a wooden spoon, or rolling pin until you’ve got a fine crumb. Add cookie crumbs and the pumpkin ‘puree’ to a bowl and stir in the powdered sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg and cream cheese until well combined.
- In a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, or in the microwave, melt 100g of the white chocolate. Stir melted chocolate into the pumpkin/cookie-mixture.
- Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until its solid enough to roll into balls. The mixture should be a bit soft to the touch, but if it seems too soft to keep its shape, add more cookie crumbs.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll a tablespoon of the pumpkin and cookie-mixture into balls and place them onto the paper-lined sheet. Return to the refrigerator for another hour, or into the freezer for 30 minutes (the latter makes it easier to dip the balls into the chocolate).
- To make the eyes: melt about two tabs of white chocolate (about 40g) in the microwave, or au-bain-marie. With the tip of a knife, or with a chop stick, drop small round droplets of chocolate onto a plate lined with parchment paper. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes until the chocolate has set. Then, melt a tab of dark chocolate and make little dots on the white drops with a toothpick, or skewer. Place the chocolate eyes in the refrigerator until needed. Make sure you have a little bit of chocolate left over to stick the eyes to the ghosts at the end.
- To make the white-chocolate shell: melt the remaining 210g of white chocolate with your method of choice. Dip the cookie-balls into the white chocolate and cover with a spoon, or fork. Gently lift out each ball and place back on the parchment paper. Chill the truffle balls into the fridge for about 5 minutes until the chocolate hardens. Finally, stick the chocolate eyes on the ghosts with a tiny little bit of leftover chocolate. You can also use dark chocolate for this final step to create a dark circle effect around the eyes.