Hi! How was your Labor Day weekend? It was stormy the entire three days here, so not exactly the beach and grilling weather we'd been hoping for. It did, however, provide us a really good excuse to hunker down on the couch and catch up on some tv shows we've been wanting to watch. We're now through the first season of Veep, and though it was slow-going at first, I think we've decided to stick with it. The characters definitely grow on you the longer you watch!
Also? I finally started in on Orange is the New Black, and if you're on the fence, let me warn you it's just as addictive as you've heard. I binge-watched eight episodes this weekend, and suspect it'll just be another day or two before I finish the remaining five.
I seriously wish all tv shows would release the entire season at once! Waiting a week for new episodes is such a killer (I'm looking at you Breaking Bad)...
Alright, enough about tv, let's get down to business and talk about cheesecake! As much as I enjoy cheesecake (especially now that I've figured out how to deal with those pesky cracks), a normal full-size cake just yields so much food. Minis are definitely the way to go - easier to share, transport, and even scale up or down to meet your needs. This recipe for raspberry swirl mini cheesecakes will yield about 16 minis, but I've halved it to make only 8 and doubled to make over 30 for big gatherings.
You won't be missing out on anything you love about traditional cheesecake by making these minis either. At the base of each mini cheesecake is a buttery graham cracker crust. It's topped with a creamy cheesecake filling that's swirled with fresh raspberry puree, adding both flavor and color. They're just so pretty, I can't stand it :) Oh, and good news, there's no need for a water bath here. The original recipe called for one, but I've done the recipe with and without and have never noticed a huge difference.
If raspberry isn't your thing, a few years ago I made these pumpkin swirl mini cheesecakes, which are just as good and wonderful for fall. Either recipe would be fun party food if you're getting together with friends for football games in the coming weeks!
Raspberry Swirl Mini Cheesecakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes (originally seen on Annie's Eats)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 sheets)
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 oz fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lb (2-8 oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and toss until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Place 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each liner and use the bottom of a glass to press into an even layer. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the crust is set. Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool.
Meanwhile, add the raspberries to the bowl of a small food processor. Process until smooth (you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice). Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer, really pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the sugar to the raspberry liquid, and whisk to combine. Discard the raspberry solids in the strainer.
To make the cheesecake filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Reduce the mixer to low, and gradually add the sugar until incorporated. Mix in the salt and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating only until combined after each addition (you don't want to beat too much air into the batter at this point).
Add 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake filling to each crust in the pans. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry puree to each cheesecake, dotting it over the surface of the filling (I did about 4 dots on each). Use a toothpick to swirl the raspberry puree into the filling. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the centers of the cheesecakes are just barely set.
Remove the pans to wire racks and allow the cheesecakes to cool completely, then refrigerate in the pans for at least 4 hours before serving.
Makes about 16 mini cheesecakes