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During the holidays is the best time to bake up as many treats as you can muster. Why? Because there is never a shortage of people to give them to!! Ever year I wish and wish that the days leading up to Christmas would magically become my days off so that I could spend them at home listening to Christmas music and dancing away in my kitchen. But alas, these activities must be saved for the weekends. And since there isn’t much time on the weekends, it’s important to find items that are quick and easy to make for parties or even just to enjoy while wrapping gifts.

As I had said in a previous post, mini cheesecakes should become the new trend in decadent desserts. Cupcakes have been in the spotlight for a while, and not being a cupcake person myself ( I think that cheesecakes are soooo much better), it’s time for something new!! Not only that, cheesecakes can be made to be just as pretty as their cakey cousin. For this recipe, I was in a hurry to make something for a band Christmas party. Most of the people attending had already tried my other miniature cheesecakes, and so I was immediately volunteered to make the desserts. I made mini peppermint cheesecakes and mini cookies and cream cheesecakes, both with Oreo crusts and topped with chocolate ganache. I made the cheesecakes the night before, so they would have enough time to cool, and made the chocolate ganache a few hours before the party. They turned out amazing, and I can’t wait to make more of them and see what other flavor combinations I can come up with.

Recipe inspired by a recipe found on – http://www.shugarysweets.com

Crust:

About 15 Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookie)

Cheesecake fillings:

2 packages of cream cheese (I use Philadelphia in the silver box)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 eggs20131219_175536_resized

NOTE: This is the basic recipe for the cheesecake fillings – for the flavors, I split this recipe in halves and added 1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract to one half, and 1 Tbsp of cookie crumbs to the other half and mixed well. The best part?? You can add whatever other flavors you want!! 

So first – crush up about 15 Oreo cookies into small crumbs. You can use a food processor for this if you have one, or do like I did and place them in a bowl and start crushing. Once into tiny little pieces, press into the bottom of your muffin cups in your muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the fillings, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Then add the other ingredients and mix well. At this point, you can either split the filling into two parts like I did, or pick one flavor and double the amounts listed in the note above and mix. I enjoyed doing two different flavors since it was for a party, and seeing which one was more popular than the other. Once all mixed together, spoon evenly into the cookie crumb lined muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Once baked, let cool in tins, then remove them and put into the fridge to cool completely. I did this overnight for these, but if you’re in a rush, they should cool in about an hour.20131219_190305_resized

Chocolate Ganache Topping:

1 cup milk chocolate (I used Nestle chocolate chips)

1/4 cup heavy cream

Place the heavy cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm, add chocolate and microwave again for another minute. Once heated, stir until creamy. Spoon about 1Tbsp to the top of each completely cooled mini cheesecake.

Now all that’s left to do is to add your toppings! I used whole Oreo cookies for the cookies and cream, and cut up candy canes into chunks for the peppermint flavored.

They both turned out pretty delicious, and I’m not sure I could pick a favorite, but the cookies and cream seemed to be the favorite of others. Maybe it was the big cookie on top!

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!20131220_153817_resized

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