Tuesday, April 20, 2010

MIX 'N MATCH MINI CHEESECAKES

005
I love using my mini springform pans to make little cheesecakes.  They freeze beautifully, and when we want a little cheesecake for dessert, I just take one out and let it thaw on the counter for a few hours.  There’s another advantage to making minis:  it gives me an opportunity to experiment. 
004
Kraft Foods has developed a recipe specifically for mini springform pans.  You can pick from a variety of flavors (citrus, chocolate chunk, cookies and cream, chocolate royale, peanut butter, mocha and cherry) to customize each mini cheesecake.  Instead of using their flavor profiles, I developed my own (mocha peanut butter and New York vanilla bean).  Both were firm, creamy and delicious.  You can follow the instructions for the original Kraft recipe, or mine, below.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Mini Cheesecakes:  Mocha Peanut Butter and New York Vanilla Bean
Adapted from kraftfoods.com
Rating:  9 out of 10
PRINTABLE RECIPE
INGREDIENTS:  1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
3-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2-1/2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided use
2 Tbsp. + 3/4 cup sugar, divided use
1 tsp. coffee essence (equal parts coffee brandy and instant coffee granules)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. Neufchatel cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup lite sour cream
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp. high-quality vanilla extract or paste)
1 tsp. vanilla powder

Heat oven to 300F.  Mix cracker crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and melted butter; divide equally among 5 springform pans (or use a large custard cup or other oven-proof dish for the fifth).  Press mixture onto bottom of each pan.  Bake about 7 minutes, or till set.

In medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla; set aside.  In medium-large bowl, beat cheese and 3/4 cup sugar with mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just till blended.  Pour 1/2 of batter (about 2 cups) into peanut butter-chocolate mixture in medium bowl and whisk till smooth.  To remaining batter, add 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 tsp. flour, vanilla scrapings and powder, and mix on low speed till thoroughly combined.   (Put the vanilla pod in your sugar canister to make delightful vanilla-scented sugar, or grind it up finely with some powdered sugar to make vanilla powder.)

Pour batter over cooled crusts.  There will be some of each left for the fifth crust.*  Pour the vanilla batter in first, then the chocolate, and swirl it together.   Place the pans on a cookie sheet and bake 35-40 minutes, or till centers are still a little jiggly.  (The vanilla may be done sooner, so be prepared to remove it if you need to.)  Run a knife around rims of pans to loosen cakes as soon as you remove them from the oven; cool completely on wire rack before removing rims.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. 
Yield:  5 mini cheesecakes
*Kraft does not allow for the fifth mini-cake.  But when you add the extra ingredients, there is too much batter for the four pans.  I put my extra batter into a large custard cup.
002
006

17 comments:

MelindaRD said...

They look great. I never thought about having little mini pans but that is a great idea.

Valerie said...

These are adorable! I ♥ mini desserts. :D

Linda said...

Judy, what a great idea!

Lauren O said...

Judy, I love your recipes... just wanted to let you know that the center column is bleeding into the right column when I view your page on Internet Explorer (therefore I can't see the full recipe)

biz319 said...

I love the idea of mini-cheesecake! And I was about tell you the same thing about your pictures, but Lauren O beat me to it! :D

Pam O. said...

Thank you so much for this post. I was having buyers remorse about a set of 3 mini springforms I just got on clearance. I love the idea of making a variety and then freezing them.

Sophie said...

Oooh Judy!!

I just love all of your special recipes & these 2 cheesecakes look so special & so tasty too!


MMMM,..real divine treats!!!

Judy said...

Lauren and Biz, thanks for the heads up about the blog columns. There is an adjustment that you can make on your computer to widen your screen. This will take care of the problem.

Chow and Chatter said...

oh yummy i need to try making cheese cakes you are an amazing baker

Lila said...

These look delicious. I love cheesecake and I had no idea you could freeze them!
Lila Ferraro
Queen Bedroom Sets

Juliana said...

Judy, love the idea of having them in different flavor and the mini size are always fun :-)

Coleen's Recipes said...

Please tell me more about the pans. How big are they? Where did you find them? What a fantastic idea.

Judy said...

Coleen, the pans are 4-1/2" in diameter and they are springform pans. My son gave them to me for my birthday a few years back, but I've seen them in Bed, Bath & Beyond and a few other stores. You can google 4-1/2" springform pans and they'll come up. I know Amazon is a seller. You can also use the pans to bake mini layer cakes, like the ones you see in grocery stores and bakeries. I've used them a lot.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What lovely little mini cheesecakes. I didn't realize you could buy mini springform pans. How cool. I see in your above comment that they are easy to find. Thanks.
Sam

Kerstin said...

Mmmm, these look so fabulous. I need to get some mini-cheesecake pans!

biz319 said...

Just wanted to wish you a Happy Mother's Day Judy! Hope all is well with you!

Ingrid said...

Very cool...I didn't know that. I only have two mini springform pans. I guess I need to pick up a few more.
~ingrid