mini-cheesecakes

I remember so vividly my childhood days when I would make homemade treats out of Play Dough in primary colors. Molding, rolling, piecing together tiny bits of dough into what would become the best non-edible baked goods the world would never taste. My entourage of stuffed animals didn’t mind not tasting them. Those were the days when my imagination and creativity collided into hours of fun play that I believe to this day has a lot to do with my love of creating beautiful dishes for my family.

I also played with one of those toy ovens that actually baked edible cakes at a neighbor’s house. It was such a great experience. Mixing the mini packages of cake mix and pouring them into functional toy baking pans, no wider than my son’s palm, was so exciting. And then getting to decorate the treats and taste each small bite down to the last crumb.

Taking my childhood into consideration, I try to provide these same opportunities for my own children except we bake these small size treats in a real working kitchen using treasured family recipes. The result is a growing love of baking, and good exercise for their imagination and creativity–just like their mama when she was young.

With the holidays approaching, I know planning a menu can be stressful. I also know the holidays inspire families to create memories in the kitchen. Today I have a great recipe for your young budding pastry chefs to make with your help and supervision. These Mini Two-Bite Cheesecakes are simple to make and fun to eat. They also look like they could be served for dessert in an upscale restaurant. If your children love to bake, but you’re concerned about huge dessert portion sizes, these little treats are simply perfect and fancy enough to add to your holiday dessert table. Sometimes two bites are all you need to feel satisfied.

Recipe: Two-Bite Mini Cheesecakes

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 30 min(s)
  • Total Time: 80 min(s)
  • Servings: 12

Two-Bite Mini Cheesecakes recipe - perfect for parties or just when you want to indulge in a small dessert.

Ingredients

    • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 tablespoon melted butter
    • 1  eight ounce block cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 egg, room temperature
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons fruit spread or jam
    • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

    • Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
    • Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together until evenly mixed (a food processor works great for this). The mixture will not appear wet but when pressed together between the fingers should stick together.
    • Line a mini cupcake tin with 12 paper liners. * Make sure you have the correct sized liners for your mini tin. Some mini paper cups do not work for mini tins.
    • Scoop one level teaspoon of crumb mixture into each lined tin cup.
    • Using your fingers or the flat side of a clean bottled water cap, firmly press down the crust mixture into a flat hard layer.
    • Place the tin in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
    • While the crust is baking, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a mixer or a bowl.  Make sure the cream cheese is soft, otherwise your cheesecakes will have lumps.
    • Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese and sugar together for one minute.  Add the egg, lemon juice, and the vanilla extract.  The mixture should be smooth and the texture should be like cake batter.
    • After the crust has baked for 5 minutes, remove the tin from the oven and evenly fill the cups with the cheesecake batter.
    • Bake the cheesecakes for 16-18 minutes until the center is slightly firm to touch and not jiggly.  Do not worry if the tops appear to have a dome shape or are cracked.
    • Remove the cheesecake from the oven allow the tin to rest on a heat safe countertop for 10 minutes.
    • Carefully remove the mini cheesecakes from the tin and transfer them to a plate.
    • Place the plate in the freezer for 30 minutes until they are no longer warm and slightly cool.
    • The cheesecakes will look more level after they have cooled and the cracks, if any, will hardly be noticeable.
    • Carefully remove the paper liners from each mini baked cheesecake.
    • Top each cheesecake off with a 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite fruit spread or jam followed by a small pinch of lemon zest as garnish.

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