Monday, February 10, 2020

Mini Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes

  Many many years ago, my sisters used to make Cherry Cheese Tarts. They were just simple little cheesecakes that didn't take many ingredients and were a cinch to throw together. It was one of those desserts that showed up at many family events and they were always a bit hit. A vanilla wafer went into the bottom of a cupcake liner, cheesecake batter was poured over the top, and then after they baked and cooled, they were topped with a spoonful of cherry pie filling. Perfect, right? They were SO good! But I thought, well, what if we do a chocolate version? Chocolate and cherry are a match made in heaven! (And frankly, why have I never done this until now?) I'll just do an Oreo cookie crust, a chocolate cheesecake filling, and my same favorite cherry pie filling on top! Awesome.
 I was originally just going to chocolate-ify the recipe that we used to use, but then I thought maybe it would be better to go with a whole new recipe. Since I didn't already have a go-to chocolate cheesecake recipe, I decided to try this recipe from a blog called Baker by Nature. It's a FABULOUS recipe. Not too sweet, VERY rich and chocolatey, and perfect if you want a small but decadent treat. And they look so delicious that you'll get the added bonus of everyone saying "ooooo and aaaaahhhhh" when you bring them to a party. LOL Btw, They're also the perfect thing to make if you want to impress somebody special. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'!

For the crust:
36 Oreo cookies, crushed into fine crumbs
4 tbs melted butter

 Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line two 12-mold muffin tins with paper liners. Spray liners lightly with non-stick spray and set aside until needed. Place the cookies in the body of a small food processor and pulse until the cookies are very fine crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until well combined. Divide the mixture between the cupcake liners and press it firmly into the bottom of each mold. Bake crusts in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the tins on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling. Reduce oven to 300°F.

For the cheesecake:
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces full-fat cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Heat until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Remove the pot from the heat, leaving the bowl of chocolate over the hot water. Set aside.
 In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cream cheese and sour cream until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the sugar and cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Add in the eggs, egg yolks, and heavy cream and mix until combined,. Fold in the chocolate. Finally add in the vanilla and pulse for another 20 seconds. Divide the filling evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the door closed for another 5 minutes. Remove the cheesecake pans from the oven and place the pans on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool to the touch, place the pans in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Once the cheesecakes are completely cool, you can remove them from the pan.
Top with cherry pie filling or your topping of choice.

Whenever making any kind of cheesecake, be sure that all of your ingredients are room temperature. It makes all the difference in the final product!
This recipe originally called for a ganache topping, which is just chocolate melted with heavy cream. I decided to stick with cherry pie filling, since that was the original inspiration. Strawberry pie filling would be great too, or even just a swirl of whipped cream and a fresh raspberry on top. You do you!
If you don't need to make 24, you can either cut the entire recipe in half and just make 12, OR you can still make all 24 and then freeze the rest for another time!

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