• December 22, 2012

    Mini Cheesecakes with Cherry Topping

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    I’m presently on the East coast with my family. I’m so happy to be here. The first morning (well, afternoon, let’s be honest…) when I woke up, I just walked around the house clapping and squealing at all the Christmasy things.

    I skipped Christmas last year and forgot how much I love it.

    Here are the highlights so far:

    1. Frolicking in the snow (until a nor’easter blew 50 mm of rain our way last night…SO not impressed).

    2. Gobbling clementines as fast as I can remove them from their skins.

    3. Sniffing the christmas tree. Well, actually, rubbing the needles then sniffing my fingers. I hope no one witnesses.

    4. Wrapping presents. Taking breaks to sniff the scotch tape. (My GOD do I love the smell of scotch tape). Maybe no one should witness that one either…

    5. Snuggling with my sister. Sisters are the best.

    6. Snuggling with a beautiful quilt my Aunt Pierette made as a wedding-birthday-Christmas gift. Homemade gifts are the best!

    7. Snuggling with my friends’ babies. BABIES!!!!

    8. Relishing my mom’s home cooking. Moms’ cooking is the best.

    9. Sleeping in. Ohhhh yeah. It’s good.

    10. Slurping maritime seafood chowder. SO good.

    12. Drinking tea with eggnog in it. Because I can’t drink rum with eggnog in it…

    I’m a happy, well-fed, well-rested camper.

    These little cheesecakes are an annual tradition. My mom makes them with a Nilla Wafer in the bottom of each muffin cup and tops them with store-bought cherry pie filling, which makes them a real breeze, but I didn’t mind the extra work to whip up a graham cracker crust and homemade topping. You can do it either way! If using Nilla Wafers (little vanilla cookies), you don’t need to pre-bake, just top with cheesecake filling and proceed.

    We always freeze them – they only take about 10 minutes to thaw. Perfect to have on hand for unexpected guests.

    Hope you all are having a safe, happy, cozy holiday season! Warmest wishes from me to you and yours!


    For Crust:

    • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp melted butter

    For Filling:

    • 1 block (8 oz, 227g) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)

    For Topping:

    • 1 cup pitted cherries (fresh, frozen or jarred are fine)
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup cold water


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin with paper liners.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; stir until well combined. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of graham cracker mixture into each muffin cup, pressing with your finger or the teaspoon to really pack it down. Bake 6 minutes.
    3. In a large bowl (or in a food processor or standing mixer), beat together cream cheese, sugar, egg and extracts. Divide among muffin cups (about 1 1/2 tablespoons per cheesecake) and bake about 12 minutes, until set. Transfer cheesecakes to wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve (can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, frozen for up to 3 weeks).
    4. Meanwhile, prepare filling by combining cherries, cornstarch, sugar and cold water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes (6 minutes for jarred cherries), until mixture thickens and cherries soften. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled (may be refrigerated up to 1 week).
    5. Just before serving, top each cheesecake with a dollop of cherry topping.
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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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