Mother’s Day Mini Cheesecakes

Hey, mom: Treat yourself this May with this simple, savory dessert recipe. And maybe – just maybe – the kids and dad can dig in, too!

Mothers Day Mini Cheesecakes

I know, I know: You’re not supposed to make your own Mother’s Day treat. But maybe if you make it a day or so ahead, it’s OK?

As a kid, I had something against cheese in any form (I can’t even fathom going a day without cheese now!). Occasionally, I’d suffer through a slice of cheddar, and mozzarella was OK. But semi-soft cheeses – like cream cheese, ricotta, cottage and the like – were out. I considered them slimy, tasteless and, well, gross.

I shunned cheesecake whenever someone offered it, bothered by the consistency as much as the taste. Then I moved to New York and happened on Roxy’s Diner on Broadway. The cheesecake slices there tower to around 6 inches, the thick slices coming in varieties like white chocolate raspberry swirl, pina colada, and double chocolate. One bite and I became a cheesecake fan. I’ve been making cheesecake ever since.

My mini cheesecake recipe makes about eight six-ounce cheesecakes, if you’re using ramekins. You can also try this in muffin papers and you’ll probably get around 10. The trick is not to overfill the cups – you want about a 1/3-to-2/3 ratio of crust-to-filling. Too much filling as these miniatures won’t hold together well. You can play around with the filling after you’ve scooped it onto the crust – maybe swirl in some raspberry jam or add a few miniature chocolate chips. There are so many possibilities with this basic recipe!

So if you want to make sure you like your Mother’s Day dessert this year, why not do it a day ahead of time? (Shhhh – I won’t tell.) Or you could pass this along to your kids. It’s easy enough they should have no problem turning out yummy mini-cheesecakes.

One note: You can remove the mini cheesecakes from the ramekins. To do this, run a warmed kitchen knife (you can warm it by running hot water over it) along the edge of the cheesecake then remove. If for some reason the cheesecake doesn’t want to budge, don’t worry; just serve the cheesecakes in the ramekin.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (chocolate or regular)
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted

Filling

  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (less-fat versions are OK), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Orange zest (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.
  3. Add the melted butter into the crumb mixture. Mix to combine.
  4. Lightly grease eight six-ounce ramekins (or you can use muffin papers).
  5. Divide the crust into the 8-10 containers and firmly press the crust into the bottom and a little bit up the sides.
  6. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
  7. For the filling, mix the cheese on high until creamy. Add the sugar and then the eggs, making sure to combine.
  8. Mix for 5 minutes straight to fully incorporate all of the ingredients.
  9. Scoop the batter into the containers, making sure that they aren’t overly full.
  10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the batter barely giggles.
  11. Cool and then refrigerate over night.
  12. Serve topped with whipped cream, fresh fruit, chocolate sauce or whatever else you have available.

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