I made these mini cheesecakes to bring to an Easter dinner. I like them because they are really easy to make (if you have a food processor) and cook really quickly. They also encourage you to eat a more reasonable amount of cheesecake than you otherwise might.
I didn’t make these perfectly. I think perhaps the recipe is meant for larger cupcake tins; I ended up with twice the crust and filling expected, and didn’t get the proportions right. These don’t work as well with too much crust; make sure the crust is thick enough to hold the cupcake together, but not so thick that it will be tough to get a fork through when baked.
The strawberry sauce makes for a beautiful presentation and is very tasty, but I can see these cheesecakes working with an endless number of other toppings. Fresh berries of any kind would be really good, or some kind of chocolate situation.
*I am updating this post to clarify that Brian did a lot of the work in creating these cheesecakes. He blended, he stirred, and he reacted really well when I yelled at him for whacking his fist into the cupcake tins instead of gently patting the crusts into place.
Little Cheesecakes with Strawberry Sauce from Food Network Kitchens Favorite Recipes
10 chocolate graham crackers, broken (do these exist? I’ve never found chocolate ones, so I just use regular)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 lb cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Process graham crackers and chocolate chips in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is sandy and moist. Divide among 6 jumbo muffin cups, then press evenly over the bottoms and about two-thirds of the way up the sides. Bake until the crusts are set, about 8 minutes.
Pulse the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest in a food processor until smooth. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool the cheesecakes and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.
For the sauce, puree the strawberries with the sugar in the food processor. When ready to serve, run a knife around the cheesecakes and lift out of pan. Spoon some sauce over them.