I’m so happy I have the time this month to bake with all of you – it’s been too long. We’ve had a few early entries for this month’s cheesecake #baketogether and I’m looking forward to seeing more in the days to come. I wanted to be sure to get this recipe to you before Valentines Day so please excuse the ‘in your face” shot. I’m off to NYC for the Cookbook Conference at the Roger Smith Hotel for the next couple of days but, hopefully, my family won’t have eaten them all up and I can try for a better looking pic on Sunday.
These little 3 or 4 bite coffee-infused cheesecakes were inspired by a recipe in my upcoming cookbook – Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets ~ 100 desserts to pick up and eat (Taunton Press, 9/2012) . Like the minis in the book, this recipe takes on the big flavor and luscious texture of a whole cheesecake yet down-sizes it into small-sized treats. I’ve also scaled the recipe back so it yields 8 minis – modest for a cheesecake but perfect for serving a small group. Of course, if you are feeding a larger group or just want a few extra to pop in the freezer, feel free to double the recipe.
I think I said pretty much everything I had to say about cheesecakes in the original post so I’ll just add a word or two about the flavoring here. I used the store bought coffee liqueur Kahlua but you can use any coffee flavored liqueur or you can even make your very own liqueur using my friend Barb’s recipe. I also used instant espresso granules but you can use instant coffee, even decaf, if you prefer.
Also.. if you have any topics that you’d like to see for future #baketogethers, please leave them in the comments section or drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org .
Wishing you all sweet things,
Makes 8 mini cheesecakes
For the black bottom
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) finely ground chocolate cookies (I use Nabisco® Famous® Chocolate Wafers)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso granules
1 package (8 ounces ) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
Pinch of table salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
Make the black bottom
Line 8 regular-sized muffin cups with foil liners (paper ones won’t work here) and lightly grease the bottom and sides. Put the cookie crumbs and butter in a small bowl and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Portion the crumbs evenly among the foil liners. If you have a tart tamper, this is a great time to use it. If not, tear off a piece of plastic wrap, place it over the crumbs, and use your fingers to press firmly to make a compact layer. Slide the tin into the refrigerator while you make the filling. (This helps keep the crumbs on the bottom when you are swirling the batters together.)
Make the cheesecake
1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Mix the Kalhua and instant espresso in a small ramekin. Put the cream cheese and flour in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium high until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, mascarpone, Kalhua- espresso mixture, and salt. Continue beating until well blended and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently; there should be no lumps. Add the egg and beat on medium speed until just blended. Once the egg has been added to the batter, it’s important to mix thoroughly without overbeating or the cheesecakes will puff and crack during baking.
2. Spoon the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. The cups should be almost completely filled. Tap the muffin tin gently on the counter to settle the batter. Bake until the centers barely jiggle when the pan is nudged, 19 to 21 minutes. Set the muffin tin on a rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 6 hours.
3. Serve the cheesecakes with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
The cheesecakes can be prepared and baked ahead. Once cooled, cover the muffin tins with plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze (tin and all to keep the foil perky and pretty) for up to 1 month.