Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mini Cheesecakes with raspberry swirls

I have been craving cheesecake for 2 weeks now and I finally gave in today and picked up some cream cheese. Now, I don't know how you feel about your cheesecake but for me, I can only have a sliver before it gets too rich.
I decided today instead of making a whole big cheesecake that would probably go to waste, I would make some mini's and share with my Sister in law who is celebrating her birthday. Win Win.
I found this recipe from "Martha's Cupcakes" a while ago, and I love it. They look so beautiful and complicated, but if you follow a few simple steps, they turn out looking like they are from a restaurant! The first time I made it I was a little freaked out of doing a "water bath" so I skipped that step and unfortunately my cakes were sunken in the center. A tip for you: Don't skip the water bath. Its easier than it sounds and it makes for beautifully puffy little cakes that will make you smile.
The original recipe makes 32 cheesecakes, perfect for a bridal/baby shower or any party you want. For a family size, I will also share a broken down recipe that can make 12 cheesecakes or one for 8.
I have never frozen these cheesecakes as they have never lasted long enough, but I do know they will store in the fridge for a few days if stored properly in an air tight container.
Hope you enjoy this sweet little recipe!
Recipe: {Makes 32 Cheesecakes}
-Graham cracker crust-
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (use gluten free graham cracker crumbs if desired)
4-5 tablespoons butter, melted (It may feel a little too dry but once compacted it will set very well!)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (OPTIONAL)

-Cheesecake filling-
4 bricks of cream cheese (32 oz) MUST BE ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs, room temperature (setting your eggs out helps them incorporate into the filling more smoothly)

-Raspberry topping-
In your blender, mix a cup or so of fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries, strawberries or triple berries.
Add a tablespoon of sugar (more if you want it sweeter) and blend.
Pour liquid through a sieve to separate seeds to make a smooth fruit topping.

 Recipe" {Makes 12 cheesecakes}
-Graham cracker crust-
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (use gluten free graham cracker crumbs is desired)
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (OPTIONAL)

-Cheesecake filling-
2 bricks of cream cheese (16 oz) MUST BE ROOM TEMPERATURE
 3/4 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs- room temperature

-Raspberry filling-
1/2 cup of raspberries or about 6-8 strawberries
2 teaspoon of sugar
In your blender, mix fresh or thawed raspberries, strawberries or triple berries and sugar until pureed.
Pour liquid through a sieve to separate seeds to make a smooth fruit topping.

{Recipe: makes 8 cheesecakes}
 -Graham Cracker Crust-
2 1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. graham cracker crumbs (use gluten free graham cracker crumbs if desired)
2 1/4 tsp. butter, melted
Dash of cinnamon (OPTIONAL)

-Raspberry Topping-
1/2 cup. raspberries, strawberries or triple berries fresh or thawed.
1 tsp. sugar

-Cheesecake filling-
1 brick (8 oz.) cream cheese MUST BE ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg room temperature
 Directions for all:
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Line your muffin tins with paper liners. To make your life very easy, cut small strips of wax or parchment paper to go underneath your cheesecakes to make them extra easy to remove! Spray liners with pam cooking spray.

 Stir together ground graham crackers, butter, sugar and optional cinnamon. Press 1 tablespoon crust mixture firmly into bottom of each lined cup. Press with a (tippy) cup to make a firm crust! Bake until set, about 5 minutes. Transfer tins to a wire rack to cool.

Blend raspberries, strawberries or triple berries and sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing with a spatula to remove as much liquid as possible and separate seeds. Toss seeds in the garbage when done.

With an electric or stand mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed, add your sugar in a steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Now add your eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each.

Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of filling over crust in each cup. Use a spoon to make a few drops of  raspberry, strawberry or blackberry puree on the top of each cheesecake (about 1/2 a teaspoon). With a  skewer or back of your spoon, swirl sauce on the top of the cheesecakes . Put your cupcake pan on a baking sheet and add enough water to go about 1/2 way up the sides of the cookie sheet. THIS IS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO FOR THE WATER BATH! Do not skip this step, or your cheesecakes will sink in the center during baking.

Bake cheesecakes 30-32 minutes or until centers are set! THE WATER WILL BE VERY HOT so carefully remove your pan from the oven and out of the water on the tray. I like to turn the oven off and open the door a little to let them cool for about 5 minutes and I am able to carefully lift the pan out. Carefully transfer cheesecakes to a pan that you will transfer into the fridge.  Refrigerate for AT LEAST 4 hours. The longer the better.
 These can be made a day head, and I actually think they taste better that way as they are better set. They can be stored for 3 days (after cooled overnight, remove paper liners to store as they become moist as time goes on). Store in an airtight container or large ziplock bag in the fridge.
                                   I used my baby's tippy cup to press the crust into the tins.

 *Make sure and mix things in the right order, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, salt and then eggs. It does make a difference! You should end up with a very smooth and creamy filling. Take a spatula and scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to make sure you don't have any chunks of cream cheese.

Using a sieve to strain the seeds leaves a delicious smooth raspberry sauce.

Just a few drops on top will be perfect. Use a skewer or the back of a spoon about 1/4 of the way down into the filling to swirl them.
**NOTE: As you can see in my first pan, I used strawberry to top my cheesecakes and the liquid was much thinner than the raspberry below. It was also a lighter pink color after swirled (see 3rd pic) still very pretty but if you want the deep red color, go for the raspberry for sure).
**NOTE** did you know you can find cake carriers at the $1 store? They are so cute and PERFECT to carry/store/deliver cupcakes, cakes or cheesecakes! And since they are only a buck, you can give the container to whomever you're delivering the goodies too! No pan returning? That's my style.
The perfect bite of creamy sweetness.
This recipe can be made with so many toppings. You could try plain cheesecakes with blueberries on top, cherry, caramel or chocolate... the sky is the limit! You could also use a Nilla wafer for the crust or an oreo!
Don't forget to pin the recipe to your goodie folder!
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