Friday, June 4, 2010

Michelle's Cupcake Cheesecakes

Cupcake Cheesecakes...these aren't mine, but close!

I love cheesecake. I love making cheesecake. I love serving cheesecake. Everything about cheesecake is simply fabulous. I don't know if I've ever met someone who doesn't like cheesecake. Well, at least not any adults I know. I never liked cheesecake as a kid. I'm certain it's because I thought any cake that was made from cheese had to be a big mistake. I had no concept of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Cheese in my book was, you know, in Swiss, American, and Cheddar. I didn't start experiencing cheese until I was, oh, probably 30 or maybe even 35 years old. Yeah, I know. I'm sure there's some childhood trauma somewhere that I just can't remember (probably something like, "You will eat every bite of that Limburger cheese or you won't ever eat again!"). Thankfully I got over it and now I think cheese is great. Whew!

We host Thanksgiving dinner at our house every year which includes the now very famous Thanksgiving Dessert Contest. The first time I won the trophy, I made Warm Fudge Filled Cheesecake. The recipe was from the $100,000 winner of the dessert contest held by Southern Living Magazine. The crust is made with pistachios and, yes, the center of the cheesecake is loaded with almost an entire bag of mini chocolate chips. This cheesecake is served just slightly warmed with fresh whipped cream and huge chocolate curls. I'll post this recipe sometime when the weather calls for comfort food. If you just can't stand it, let me know, and I'll get you the recipe. Otherwise, you might even be able to find it at Southern Living Magazine recipes.

So, here's my version of cupcake cheesecakes that can be served at a picnic or a fun family gathering. Depending upon how you decide to top them...whipped cream and fresh berries or chocolate fudge frosting or even turtle tops made from melted caramel and chocolate ganache...these cupcake cheesecakes can be casual and easy or made to look fancy and decadent. Regardless, they are the perfect size and always a huge hit.

Michelle's Cupcake Cheesecakes

4 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
28 Oreos
28 Sandies (or Pecan Sandies)
Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting Chocolate Fudge
Foil cupcake liners

Usually makes about 28 cheesecakes...cut the recipe in half if you don't need so many.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; use middle rack.

With mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy; add eggs one at a time (on slow speed) and mix just until the yellow disappears; stir in vanilla.

In cupcake pans, place one foil cupcake liner in each cup of pan and place one cookie in the bottom. Fill cup almost to the top of each foil liner with cheesecake mixture.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes; let cool in pans on cookie rack. Use the edge of a knife to remove cooled cheesecakes from pan.

Cheesecake Toppings

For Fudge Topping: Place a dollop of fudge frosting in the center of each cheesecake by either using a spoon or a piping bag (or use a heavy-duty Ziploc bag with a corner cut out). I use the largest star tip I have with a piping bag to create a big star of frosting. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. The frosting will set up and taste like fudge.

For Whipped Cream and Fresh Fruit Topping: Unless you want to use Cool Whip, only top with fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit (blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, strawberry slices, red raspberries, etc.) just before serving. Whipped cream will melt in about an hour. Serve immediately.

For Turtle Topping: Use a thick caramel ice cream topping (Smucker's is great), slightly heated and pourable; pour the caramel onto the centers of each cheesecake. Keep about a quarter of an inch the edge of each cheesecake plain. Then top with chocolate ganache all the way to the edge so the entire top of the cheesecake is chocolate. Top with a candied or roasted pecan. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Chocolate Ganache: 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Heat half and half on stove top or microwave until it just begins to boil; remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips, stir until melted; stir in vanilla. Fill tops of cheesecakes with warm ganache.


1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 04, 2010

    Yum-o! Another one of my favorites! That turtle topping was making my mouth water; I'll be trying that one soon! ~julie