Is there anything better than cheesecake? If you ask me, probably not. I’m not a huge “sweets” person but boy do I enjoy a good cheesecake. Since we are getting in that holiday baking season I thought it would be nice to add some mini cheesecakes to the regular cookie mix this year. There are lots of ways to make cheesecake festive and lots of them are delicious but I’m such a fan of classic New York style cheesecake that I didn’t want to stray too far from that. The ginger snap crust on these mini cakes gives them a distinctively Christmas flavour without being over powering and the addition of a little white chocolate pulls all the flavours together nicely. I also cut back on the sugar to make sure the white chocolate didn’t make it too sweet. You can serve these as is or go ahead and top with caramel (details in the recipe) for that extra bit of holiday yumminess.
Mini White Chocolate Ginger Snap Cheesecake
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes
- 2 cups of ginger snap crumbs (use a grinder or food processor to grind the ginger snaps)
- 5 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine
- 1 1/2 packages (12 ounces total) of cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons of white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup of sour cream
- 2 ounces of white chocolate (I used white chocolate chips)
- 12 caramels (about 3.5 ounces) unwrapped
- 1 teaspoon of cream (milk will work if you don’t have cream)
- coarse salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare your pans. If you happen to have mini cheesecake pans (you know the ones where the bottoms come out) then you can use them. If you don’t then just get our your muffin tins. There are a couple of ways you can do this.
You can use muffin papers in which case just go ahead and put them in the pan:
If you don’t want the little ridges that muffin papers leave in your cheesecake then you can use strips of parchment. To do this spray your pans with cooking spray, or lightly grease, then cut two strips of parchment for each muffin hole (for lack of a better word) and put them in the pan so they cross at the bottom and stick up enough on each side that you will be able to use them to lift the finished cheesecakes out:
In a small bowl mix the ginger snap crumbs and melted butter together well. Divide the crumb mixture evenly between the muffin pans. Press down firmly. I like to use the bottom of a small glass to compact the crust well in the pans.
Place the pans in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
Break the cream cheese into pieces and place in a deep medium sized bowl. Beat until smooth. Add the sugar and beat again. Add the eggs and best once more. Place your white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. If it’s not completely melted and smooth heat again in 10 second increments until it is. Add the melted chocolate and the sour cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat together until well blended.
Scoop the cream cheese filling into the pans with the crust. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until done. If they are starting to crack that means they are starting to over cook. Set pans on wire racks to cool for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes you can remove the cheesecakes from the pans. Don’t remove the liners or the parchment strips just yet. Place them mini cheesecakes in the fridge to cool completely.
If you want to put caramel on top you need to wait until the cheesecakes are completely cool to do this. Yes I learned this the hard way. If you do it too soon, before they are totally cool the cheesecakes weep into the caramel and melt it So once they are good and cool (I’d say a good couple of hours in the fridge) place your caramels and cream in a microwave bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir. Repeat until they are melted and smooth. Now you can spool a dollop of caramel onto each cheesecake. Before the caramel sets sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse salt on each.
Place them back in the fridge to let the caramel set. Once it’s set (it shouldn’t take long, maybe 10 minutes) you can go ahead and remove the wrappers. Store the mini cheesecakes in the fridge or you can freeze them until you are ready to use them.