Many people say cheesecake is one of the hardest things to make. With my recipe, they don’t have to be! I’ve gone through so many recipes and techniques that I’ve nailed down what makes them great. These cheesecakes are among my favorite things to cook (and eat), as they’re not only delicious but impossibly cute. Take them to your next potluck or office party to impress the pants off your friends!
Okay, jokes aside these are still very tasty. One thing you’ll learn about me is that I’m very, very, very picky about my cheesecakes. Some people love the dense, creamy, practically a block of cream cheese type of cheesecakes. And that’s great! More cheesecakes for them. I, on the other hand, prefer the dry, airy bit of the cheesecake. You know what I’m talking about… the part at the very edge of the pan, almost like it has been overcooked. So, after many less than stellar cheesecake recipes I’ve finally come up with my own that is just how I like it.
But I couldn’t just do plain jane mini cheesecakes. That has been done before. What makes it special to you? What would make you, lovely reader, pick mine out of a lineup? Chocolate covered strawberries, of course! Now you can make this recipe and omit the chocolate covered strawberries if you want. I’m not gonna lie… while beautiful, in some situations it is a little impractical. However, just imagine that annoying co-worker trying to shove this thing in her mouth gracefully. Won’t happen. (I’m a terrible person)
So in all of my failed attempts at making the perfect mini cheesecake, I’ve managed to pick up a few useful tips and tricks along the way. I used to never be able to make a proper graham cracker crust. They always fell apart and it drove me insane. So here’s a tip: add some granulated sugar and a pinch of salt to the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, pack them in the muffin liners as tightly as possible and pre-bake them for a few minutes. This will keep the crust mostly intact, but wont require you to take out a chisel to break them up.
It also took me a while to get exactly the right texture for these bad boys. My secret? Egg white meringue. Or a halfway meringue. You don’t want a literal meringue as if you’re about to top a pie, but beating egg whites until soft peaks form and then adding a small amount of sugar will completely make or break the texture of the cheesecake. Gently folding the meringue into the cream cheese mixture is also essential, so be careful with that part. But follow my recipe and you’ll never turn back. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Until next time. X
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Items used in this recipe:
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Yields 12 mini cheesecakes
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin and begin dropping rounded Tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture into each liner. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the liner lightly, creating a crust. There may be some crumbs left over.
- Pre-bake for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and reduce temperature to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla extract until fully combined and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
- In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the two egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Add a dash of sugar and continue beating for another 30 seconds - 1 minute.
- Gently fold the eggs whites into the cream cheese, mixing to a smooth yet thin consistency, then divide among the 12 muffin liners until the cups are almost full. You may have a little bit of leftover mixture, which you can use to make a bakers dozen or discard.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes until the filling returns to its normal shape. Don't worry about cracks in the surface, as you'll be covering them with chocolate.
- Chill for a minimum of 2 hours before topping.
- Using a double boiler, gently melt your chocolate, stirring occasionally to combine. (Alternatively, microwave in a safe bowl for 30 second intervals, stirring each time)
- At this point, you can keep the cheesecakes in their liners or choose to remove them to get results like the picture above.
- With a regular kitchen spoon, pour chocolate on top of the cheesecakes making sure to coat the entire surface. (Gently press melted chocolate over the edges to get the dripping effect above) Wait until the chocolate on the cheesecakes harden before dipping the strawberries in the bowl of melted chocolate and resting on top of each cheesecake.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer (or even mixing manually if you want a work out) is fine.
Make sure all of your bowls and utensils are room temperature, NOT chilled.
EDIT: an earlier version of this recipe had the eggs added to the cream cheese mixture all at the same time. Beating the cream cheese longer and adding the yolks one at a time, then fully incorporating the egg whites leads to no lumps and a better chance of it not caving in.