Mini Cheesecake Bites with Gingersnap Crust

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I love cheesecake, but most of the time it’s so heavy that I don’t want more than a bite or two.  I think a lot of people would agree with me!  At the end of a meal, the last thing we need a heavy cheesecake to weigh us down even more.  On Christmas Eve, I normally like to serve bite size treats like Christmas cookies, pumpkin bars, or these mini cheesecake bites so everyone can sample a little of this, and a little of that.  A dessert smorgasbord, if you will.  These Mini Cheesecake Bites with Lemon Curd were topped with homemade Lemon Curd, fresh whipped cream, and Gingerbread Cookies using a miniature gingerbread man cookie cutter.  Festive, aren’t they?  They were filled with so much flavor that we were singing “Deck the Halls” right out the front door to go caroling.  Ok, not really, but it could happen to you.

I made mini cheesecakes with a graham cracker crust topped with lemon curd and fresh berries for a party this past summer, and they were a hit.  I thought why not do a Christmas version with a gingersnap crust and top them with little gingerbread cookies?  I was making gingerbread cookies anyway, so I just made several of them in a pint-size version.  The flavors of lemon and ginger cookies together are fabulous.  The tart sweetness of the lemon curd and the spicy-molasses flavor of the cookies just counter balance each other in the best way possible.  Add the rich, creaminess of cheesecake and it’s even better.  You can make these ahead, which always helps.

So let’s get to the base of these cheesecakes now — the gingersnap crust.  I used store bought gingersnap cookies and pulsed about 6 ounces (or half the bag), with some pecans in my food processor until they were coarse crumbs.  I then added two teaspoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt, and stirred them together.  I added 4 tablespoons of melted butter from there, and stirred the mixture until the crumbs held together.  You can certainly use graham cracker crumbs instead of the gingersnaps if you don’t feel like pulsing gingersnaps.  Just omit the pecans!

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I lined my mini muffin pans with festive paper liners, and placed one heaping teaspoon of the crumbs into each one, pressing them down with the back of the teaspoon.  There was enough of the cookie crust for 48 mini cheesecakes.  Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

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Next, make the cheesecake filling.  This filling was adapted by the Joy of Baking Individual Cheesecakes Recipe.  I just made a few modifications like using a lower fat version of cream cheese and omitting the lemon zest from the filling.  Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature so that it beats up nice and smooth with the eggs, sugar, pinch of salt, vanilla, and sour cream.

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Spoon 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each mini muffin cup and smooth the top slightly.  This is baked for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  The cheesecakes will look a bit wobbly, which is what you want here.  Cool on wire racks.

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Once the cheesecakes have cooled, remove from the mini muffin pan and refrigerate until completely chilled.  Top each bite with a dollop of lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, if desired, and a fresh baked miniature gingerbread cookie.

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Miniature Gingerbread Cookies

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Aren’t they cute?  Just bake them the day before and top the bites with the cookies at the last minute to keep them fresh.  They are absolutely too cute to resist!

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Mini Cheesecake Bites with Gingersnap Crust
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy, rich, cheesecake bites are topped with tart, fresh lemon curd and a spicy little gingerbread cookie. Delicious!
Serves: 48 mini cheesecake bites
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 6 ounces gingersnap cookies (1/2 a 12 ounce bag)
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling:
  • (2) 8-ounce packages of Neufchatel ⅓ less fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream, room temperature
  • Lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, and gingerbread cookies for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners.
Prepare the Crust:
  1. Place the gingersnap cookies and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembled coarse crumbs. There should be about 1½ cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap cookie mixture, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter until the mixture is nice and moist. Drop a heaping teaspoon of the crumbs into each mini muffin cup, pressing the mixture down with the back of the teaspoon. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  3. Adapted from Joy of Baking
Prepare the Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, and sour cream, and beat until incorporated. Place a tablespoon of the filling over the crust in each mini muffin cup, smoothing the top slightly. Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. Cheesecake bites will be slightly wobbly. Cool on wire racks.
  2. When the cheesecake bites are completely cooled, chill them in the refrigerator. Top with lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, and a mini gingerbread cookie immediately before serving.
Notes
Make an any-time-of-the-year treat by using graham cracker crumbs in place of gingersnap cookies if so desired. Just omit the pecans and brown sugar, adding one tablespoon of granulated sugar instead. Top with a fresh berry!

 

 

Mini Cheesecake Bites with Gingersnap Crust
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy, rich, cheesecake bites are topped with tart, fresh lemon curd and a spicy little gingerbread cookie. Delicious!
Serves: 48 mini cheesecake bites
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 6 ounces gingersnap cookies (1/2 a 12 ounce bag)
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling:
  • (2) 8-ounce packages of Neufchatel ⅓ less fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream, room temperature
  • Lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, and gingerbread cookies for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners.
Prepare the Crust:
  1. Place the gingersnap cookies and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembled coarse crumbs. There should be about 1½ cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap cookie mixture, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter until the mixture is nice and moist. Drop a heaping teaspoon of the crumbs into each mini muffin cup, pressing the mixture down with the back of the teaspoon. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  3. Adapted from Joy of Baking
Prepare the Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, and sour cream, and beat until incorporated. Place a tablespoon of the filling over the crust in each mini muffin cup, smoothing the top slightly. Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. Cheesecake bites will be slightly wobbly. Cool on wire racks.
  2. When the cheesecake bites are completely cooled, chill them in the refrigerator. Top with lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, and a mini gingerbread cookie immediately before serving.
Notes
Make an any-time-of-the-year treat by using graham cracker crumbs in place of gingersnap cookies if so desired. Just omit the pecans and brown sugar, adding one tablespoon of granulated sugar instead. Top with a fresh berry!