June 28, 2012

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Today I'm going to show you how to make a batch of  24 mini cherry cheesecakes!

Vanilla wafers
2 - 8oz packages of softened cream cheese 
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 - 1 lb cans of cherry pie filling (I usually have some extra filling, but it's worth it to have a lot of cherries per cake!)

  •  Line your muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. The original recipe has you place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. I found out that it works out better if you blend them in a blender or food processor. The picture above should give you an idea of how much to fill each cupcake liner. 1/3 full is usually a good amount. Try to envision that a layer of cheesecake and pie filling will have to fit on top of the cracker mixture. Be careful not to add too much!

  • Next, mix the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice together, Beat until smooth. Using a Kitchen-aid mixer works best.  
  • Now you should have a mixture that looks like this! Don't forget to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. I used the basic Flat Beater attachment until the cream cheese was mixed well. Then, I switched to the Wire Whip attachment  to get a smoother consistency.

  •  Spoon the mixture over the top of the vanilla wafer crust. The cupcake liners should be 2/3 full. Before I start filling the cups I preheat my oven to 375° F.

  • Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes and cool slightly. This will be the hardest step. It can be difficult to tell when they are fully cooked, but you do not want the crust to burn. After about 15 minutes I usually check on them. This picture shows the golden color that they should acquire. Continue baking if they look pale or runny. You may need to pop them back into the oven for a few more minutes. Lightly use your finger as a test! They should feel slightly firm to the touch. Remember that as they cool they will continue to set - this is especially true when they hang out inside your refrigerator.  

  • Spoon the pie filling on top of each cheesecake. I like to scoop out about five cherries per cake. Whatever filling comes along with each cherry stays on the cheese cake. Be sure to fish for those cherries! Let some of the filling run back into the can before adding it to the liner. Cover each cake completely.  

  • Tada! Easy as cheesecake? You're all done! Refrigerate for at least a couple hours before serving. This is a great dessert to bring to potlucks and picnics. Traveling with them inside a 9x13 pan works well. You can add a dollop of cool whip on each cake. I usually leave them plain and nobody seems to mind. Happy baking!

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