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CLINTON KELLY Foolproof Mini Cheesecakes

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ingredients
FOOLPROOF MINI CHEESECAKES
SHORTBREAD COOKIE CRUST
1 cup shortbread cookie crumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter (melted)
pinch salt
CHEESECAKE FILLING
2 packages cream cheese (softened, 8 ounces each)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch salt
TOPPINGS BAR
2 cups fresh organic mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
1 cup dark chocolate fudge sauce (warmed)
1 cup caramel sauce
1-2 cups fresh whipped cream
1/2 cup pistachios (toasted)
1/2 cup walnuts (toasted)
1-2 cups pretzels (crushed)
MANHATTAN CHERRY SAUCE (INCLUDED IN THE TOPPINGS BAR)
1 bag frozen dark sweet cherries (thawed, 10 ounces)
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 orange (zest only)

directions
For the Mini Cheesecakes: preheat oven to 325ºF. Prepare a 12-cup silicone cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Into a medium bowl, add shortbread cookie crumbs, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Mix to combine. Spoon and press down about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the shortbread cookie crumb mixture into the prepared cupcake molds.
Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and sugar, beat on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mix on low. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix until fully combined. Evenly pour the mixture over the shortbread cookie crusts.
Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes, until centers are completely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serve with your choice of toppings.
For Manhattan Cherry Sauce: in a saucepan over medium heat, add the thawed cherries, bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Use a potato masher to crush the cherries. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is syrupy and reduced. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Tips:
– If you don’t have a mini silicone cupcake pan, use a spring-form pan to make one regular-sized cheesecake. Be sure to line the pan with tin foil and bake in a warm water bath.
– To prevent cracking, allow the cheesecake to cool down in the oven. When finished baking, turn off the oven and crack the door to allow the cake to cool down slowly.
– Don’t over-whip the cheesecake batter. Use a spatula to mix together by hand. Whipping too much air into the batter will create air bubbles and make your cake crack!
– Use different cookies to make different crusts for personalized cheesecakes!
– Use a spoon or small glass to press down the crust into an even layer.

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