This holiday season seems to have flown by. I remember when I was younger and would wait impatiently for Christmas slooowly sloooooowly creep closer. It seems that all my wishing in the past that the holidays would hurry up and get here has caught up with me and suddenly its like WHOOOOSH! Almost 2014!
And here I am still in my Christmas jammies working on holiday baking.
Luckily these mini cheesecakes are also perfect for New Years parties, or any parties, or just because you really love cheesecake.
I know we're encouraged to eat a rainbow of different foods to ensure a wide array of vitamins and nutrients (rainbow sprinkles don't count), and I always make an effort to stuff as much rainbow-y goodness into my meals as possible.
But lets all agree that rainbows look much better when they have those fluffy white clouds around them..
(Confession: my personal food rainbow's yellow stripe would be cheese.. not spaghetti squash).
So now that you've convinced yourself that mini cheesecakes are part of a healthy diet, you simply pour the batter over the crusts, bake until set, then chill in the fridge until firm
The results are cool and creamy cakes that are rich, but not too rich or dense thanks to the additon of sour cream. They're blank canvases for whatever topping you desire.. in this case a smooth, dark ganache glaze.
The ganache glaze is made out of semi-sweet chocolate which is finely chopped, then covered with warm cream and a little bit of corn syrup to give it a glossy sheen. The cream melts the chocolate just enough for you to whisk it into a silky topping.
You can either pour the glaze over the wrapped cheesecakes and allow it to set for a solid, glossy top that makes them easy to transport. Or you can plate the unwrapped cheesecakes and smother them with warm ganache to serve immediately. It's really up to you.
I was taking this batch to a holiday party so each cake was sprinkled with a little edible glitter, although you can add fruit, whipped cream, or just keep it simple and leave the glaze unadorned.
Simple, sort of festive, and -most importantly - creamy and delicious.
Mini Chocolate Glazed Cheesecakes
For the Crust:
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons graham-cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the Cheesecakes:
2 250-gram packages plain cream cheese, room temperature <-- important! If your cream cheese is too cold, then your batter will be lumpy
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
2.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 TBSP corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
1. Stir together graham-cracker crumbs and melted butter. Divide the crumbs between 12 cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Use your fingers or the bottom of a small glass to firmly press the crumbs down.
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down the bowl then beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl again and beat in the sugar, lemon zest, salt and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the sour cream.
4. Divide the filling among the cupcake liners. The cheesecakes will puff up a bit during baking but will not rise, so you can fill the papers almost to the top. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the edges of the cheesecake have set and the middles no longer wiggle. Cool on a wire rack until the cheesecakes are room temperature, then chill in the fridge until completely firm (4 hrs - overnight)
5. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup. Heat the cream in a small pot until steaming and almost simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 1 -2 minutes. Whisk the ganache until completely smooth.
6. Pour the ganache over the cheesecakes and allow to set at room temperature. OR unwrap the cheesecakes, top with warm ganache and serve.