mini-cheesecake-4

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about trying to create the cheesecake equivalent of a Personal Pan Pizza.

I mean, imagine having a few people over for dinner and being able to lay out a Mini Cheesecake buffet for dessert. The variety of a restaurant without the cost or the beckoning leftovers.

Genuis, right?

So I did a quick Internet search of “mini cheesecakes” to see who’d gotten there first, and some relatively unknown blogger named “Kraft Foods” had beaten me to it.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler.

Take four mini springform pans, bake your graham cracker crusts inside, top your crusts with cheesecake filling, and bake them for another 40 to 45 minutes. No water bath. No fuss.

Do the tops crack? Yes, right in the middle. But on the Ninth Day, God created “topping,” so it’s all good.

And making variations is so easy! Just take the basic cheesecake filling, divide it into bowls, and go loco for cuckoo puffs. I tried the cherry, New York and peanut butter recipes, but if you click on the “Kraft Foods” link in the recipe, you’ll find their complete list of mini cheesecake flavors, including apple pie, chocolate chunk, citrus, cookies and cream, mocha and s’mores.

Well played, Kraft. Well played.

Mini Cheesecakes

Adapted from Kraft Foods

Makes 4 mini cheesecakes (Serving size is 1/3 of cake.)

    Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons. butter, melted
    Filling:

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon¬† vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Mix cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press scant 1/3 cup crumb mixture onto bottom of each of four mini (4-1/2-inch) springform pans. Bake 7 minutes.
  2. Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour one-fourth of the batter (about 1 cup) into each of four bowls. If desired, add one of the Stir-In Ideas (see below) to each bowl of batter. Pour over crusts. Place pans on baking sheet.
  3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until centers are almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rims of pans to loosen cakes; cool before removing rims. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Stir-In Ideas
For each one-fourth portion of batter, stir in one of the following before pouring batter over crust and baking as directed:

Mini Cherry Cheesecake
Bake mini cheesecake as directed. Just before serving, top with 1/3 cup cherry pie filling.
Mini New York Cheesecake
Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon flour. Just before serving, top with white and dark chocolate shavings.
Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Stir in 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 tablespoon milk. Serve topped with mini peanut butter cups.