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Mini Cheesecakes are like a blank canvas. You will have a difficult time deciding which version of these mini cheesecakes to prepare for your Holidays gatherings.
Cheesecake lends itself to endless flavor variations – from an eggnog cheesecake filling to a cheesecake crust made out of gingerbread crumbs.
These bite sized desserts are perfect for holiday parties from the family gathering to neighborhood open house and the official office party.
Cookies are great but these rich little morsels of creamy goodness really dress up any holiday dessert table. Imagine serving them at your office party!
With so many traditional Christmas cookies and fruitcakes on display at all holiday functions, mini cheesecakes stand out as inventive and decadent.
Not only do they make a beautiful centerpiece on your dessert table but are also the ultimate in dessert “finger food”.
It is easy for all home bakers to invent their favorite version of these decadent little cakes by coming up with different flavor combinations for the crust, filling, and topping.
Batter up! The first step in creating these little cakes is to make the cheesecake “batter” or filling.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese® made it quite easy (as well as incredibly quick and tasty) to prepare the filling when they first introduced the ready to eat Heavenly Classic filling in a tub. It is available at Wegmans in the dairy aisle.
Talk about easy…no need to bake or set and ideal for those last minute preparations. We recommend using this filling as is so as not to “liquefy” it with the addition of any flavor extracts.
The ingredients for a cheesecake recipe can vary but you can prepare the basic filling as follows:
Using a mixer, blend all the ingredients well.
To create different flavors for the cheesecake filling, substitute the vanilla with other flavors such as rum extract or peppermint extract.
I particularly like using grated lemon and orange peel when re-creating a mini version of a Lindy’s cheesecake with pineapple topping.
Rodelle’s™ Vanilla is available at Wegman’s in the Baking Aisle. Compared to imitation extracts, real vanilla makes a world of difference in the flavor. Rodelle’s™ black label variety is all natural and alcohol free. We use the white label extract with pure Madagascar bourbon.
Why not prepare a Key Lime filling for your mini gems? Faerie’s Finest offers a huge variety of unusual flavorings for baking purposes.
To make an eggnog cheesecake, change the recipe by using only three packages of the cream cheese and ¾-cup eggnog. Add the eggnog a little bit at a time making sure your filling does not become too liquid.
Replace the vanilla flavoring with rum extract or eggnog flavored oil. Be careful when using oil extract as a little goes a very long way. I had such an experience when using too much peppermint oil.
After whipping up the cheesecake batter, it is time to fill up cupcake liners.
First, cut vanilla wafers so they fit the bottom of the liners. The wafers will serve as the crust of the mini cheesecakes.
You can also crumble them up and use them instead of the graham crackers. In fact, why not use any crumbled cookie to create a crust?
Of course, another option is to use a traditional graham cracker crust…using either the regular or the chocolate variety of crackers.
Make the crust by stirring together 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and 6 tablespoons of melted butter.
Some bakers like to add finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the graham cracker crust, depending on the flavor combination they are trying to achieve.
After pouring the cheesecake batter about 3/4 full into the cupcake liners, place the cupcake pan into a preheated, 325 degrees oven.
Bake for 25 minutes.
After baking, let the cheesecakes cool in the pan before removing.
Place them in the refrigerator so they can firm up and chill.
For Christmas, it is fitting to top the mini cheesecakes with dollops of cherry pie filling.
However, cooks can be creative to match the colors and flavors for the cheesecake toppings with whatever party theme they have going.
For the cheesecake batter flavored with peppermint, crush colorful candy canes to sprinkle on top. Some people place kiwi fruit cut in star shapes on top of dollops of melted apricot jelly.
For the gingerbread theme, some bakers like to use the miniature graham crackers in the shape of teddy bears. Other ideas include a mixture of chocolate chips, pecans and caramel or gumdrops.
Who does not appreciate homemade holiday gifts?
It is easy to customize mini cheesecakes to give as presents for loved ones or friends. The key is to play around with flavor combinations and different ideas a few weeks in advance of a holiday party or gift exchange.
By the way, my family members do not mind devouring any leftover cheesecake flops.
1 Cook, 2 Countries & A Taste For World Cuisines: Cooking A La Mode De Chez Nous - Cuisine d'Hier Et d'Aujourd'hui! For the love of home style cooking and great food. Memories are made of this!