Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tale of two (mini) Cheesecakes

I recently had a request from a friend in Belgium for a cheesecake recipe. Apparently the cheesecakes over there aren't so hot.

Since cheesecake isn't an everyday treat in my world (if it was I probably wouldn't fit into my jeans), I've been waiting for the perfect occasion to make it.

Sadly, there have been no birthdays or promotions that call for celebratory cakes. Last night my friend Steve came over for tacos. He also just so happened to have hit his 10-year anniversary at his job. It was time for cheesecake.

My problem with cheesecake is that there's so much of it. I knew I didn't want to make a whole cake (otherwise I'd be eating it for breakfast), but I'd never made a small cheesecake before. I searched for some "mini" cheesecake recipes. Basically I wanted something that could be done in my muffin/cupcake tin. I didn't want to make a zillion mini cheesecakes. Fortunately allrecipes.com allows you to manipulate the number of servings and sizes the recipe accordingly.

Earlier this week I printed out a copy of the recipe, made my grocery list, and promptly lost the recipe. I printed another recipe out, one that I thought was the right one.

This was what I had intended to make:

Mini Cheesecake 1.0

Ingredients:
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon melted margerine
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 degrees C) . Grease a 6 cup muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, presing firmly. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
3. Beat together the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pain before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings

The one I actually made
Mini Cheesecake 2.0

Ingredients:
1/2 (8 ounce) package vanilla wafers (I just used graham crackers)
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with paper liners
2. Crush the wafers or graham crackers and place 1 teaspoon into each paper cup.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool.

Cook's notes:
As you can see, they aren't that different. Mini Cheesecake 2.0 actually called for the use of "mini" muffin tins and "mini" paper liners. Since I only have "normal" sized tins, I modified the recipe so that it would make 6 servings. The changes are reflected in the indredients list above.

I really liked using muffin liners. It made the cheesecakes easy to pop out of the tin. I can't imagine how it would have been without them.

The only problem was that the cheesecake sometimes stuck to the paper as you unpeeled it. But it was really good and the perfect portion size.

You could likely top the cheesecakes with pie filling or jam or fresh berries or even some chocolate. These really are the perfect size. And they're pretty easy to make.

Steve even took the leftovers home with him.

There are no photos because I bought a new camera and haven't figured out to use it yet. But I do plan on making them again, probably for my annual 4th of July Party, so I'll post photos then.

Happy Baking!

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