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Monday, December 31, 2012

Personal cheesecakes

I was talking to a friend recently, and he mentioned that cheesecake used to be his favorite dessert.  While I know he has a sweet tooth, and loves a pastry in the morning, I've never known him to order dessert, so I filed away this little tidbit of information.  And now I can put it to good use. 

This New Year's Eve my friend and I planned a low key evening in, cooking dinner and watching the ball drop.  The perfect opportunity to bring some cheesecakes!  The only issue was that I didn't remember if he mentioned that he liked a regular graham cracker crust or a chocolate crust.  Not a problem, I mused, I'd just make personal cheesecakes and I'd make a few with each type of crust.  Added benefit?  I didn't have to go buy a new springform pan, since I own a 9" and the recipe called for a 7".  I didn't even know 7" was a standard springform size.  But I digress.

Just over a year ago I went to a "New York" themed party and needed a New York-y dessert.  The hostess wanted me to make black and white cookies, but I hadn't made them before and was hesitant to make them for a party (it was before I made them for a black-and-white themed New Year's Eve Party last year).  Rifling through my mind for other New York inspired desserts, I settled on mini cheesecakes (baked in a mini muffin tin) with their own little crusts.


Since I was making personal (aka baked in a regular cupcake tin) cheesecakes, I figured I could experiment with flavors.  Maybe add some mini chocolate chips to some, some heath bar to another, and I even stuck a mini rolo into the centers of a few...so I divided the extra cheesecake filling and added a few different mix-ins.  Just for fun.  Truth be told, they weren't as pretty as the plain cheesecakes.  And maybe I didn't add enough of the mix-ins, but I didn't think they tasted much different either.  But it didn't really matter...I packed away a few of the plain ones for New Year's Eve, and the rest for my doormen.  The not-to-pretty ones were tasted and then tossed.  I didn't need to be picking at cheesecakes....too many calories for something I don't even love that much.

Heath Bar Cheesecakes
Now, there is actually an interesting story behind this cheesecake recipe.  A while ago my parents, aunt, and sister went out for dim dum (Chinese passed dumpings and small plates) in Westchester, and were talking to another lady in line.  Somehow their conversation lead them to - of all things - cheesecake.  She and my mother exchanged email addresses, and she forwarded my mom this recipe shortly after they met.  When I was looking for a cheesecake recipe, my mom forwarded it on to me.

Shari's Cheesecake (Shari is the lady from the dim sum line)
This made just over 30 full sized cupacake cheesecakes.  I had leftover crust mixture, but I did make a full batch of each crust recipe, and that may have been too much.  My baking time was about 25-28 minutes.  As you can tell, mine didn't get golden brown, but they were cooked through (bonus points if you can find the toothpick holes in one of the cheesecakes from testing it's doneness.).


For the crust
(if you're making "mini" or "personal" cheesecakes, you will need extra crust mixture....I doubled it last time....or you can make a mixture of graham crusts and chocolate crusts, and follow the link/recipe beneath for the chocolate crust)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter (I used unsalted, as I always do with baking)
1/6 cup sugar

For the filling

1 lb 14 oz cream cheese (3 and 3/4 8 oz packages of cream cheese)
7/8 cup sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp vanilla

Mix-ins: With the leftover cheesecake filling, I decided to experiment with some mix-ins.  I used some mini chocolate chips, and some leftover health bar pieces from those chocolate covered pretzels.


Grease a 7" springform pan (or in my case, line a regular sized (or mini) muffin tin with paper or foil liners).

Make the crust

Mix the crust ingredients together.
Press the crust into the springform pan.
Bake a 400 degrees until brown, being careful not to burn it.

Make the filling

Mix the sugar and cornstarch together.
Add the cream cheese and blend well.
Add the eggs and blend well.
Add the cream, a little at a time, and blend.
Add vanilla and blend.

* Pour the cream cheese mixture into the well greased springform plan on top of the crust.
Cover the pan with foil.
Place the pan in a water bath -- Fill a lined baking sheet with water, and place the filled springform pan on the tray.
Bake at 450 for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Shari's directions:  When done, open the oven about 3-4 inches so the oven cools, leaving the cake there for about 20 minutes.  It is supposed to stop the top from cracking.  (I skipped this step, and they turned out OK)

No-Bake Chocolate Crust (from Martha Stewart)


7 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
6 to 8 Tbsp unsalted butter


Place cookies in a food processor and process until finely ground.
Combine cookie crumbs and sugar in a bowl.
Add 6 tablespoons butter, and mix well until crumb mixture holds together. (If needed, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter.)
Transfer cookie mixture to bottoms of lined cupcake tins, and pat out evenly to make the crust.
Place in freezer while proceeding.

Go back to the previous recipe and follow from the *


  1. Came across this blog and its awesome! Dont know who you are but your recipes sure are yum:) keep them coming! Thank you

  2. Thanks for your feedback! So glad you enjoy the blog.