Story provided by Karyl Henry, KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, but I never made it because it just seemed like a lot of work. And, since I have no self-control, if I made a whole cheesecake, I would eat way too much of it.
But when I realized that a no-bake version is easy and just as delicious as the traditional, I knew it was a must-make. And, once I figured that I could make them as single portions, I was sold on the Mini No-Bake Cheesecake.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- It’s easy to customize the size and toppings
- They’re great to make ahead and perfect for a crowd
- They’re a perfect bite-sized treat and just what you need on a hot summer day
INGREDIENT TIPS FOR MINI NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
You can buy graham cracker crumbs, but I use regular graham crackers and my food processor. I use unsalted butter and let it soften slightly at the same time as the cream cheese so that it melts more evenly. Granulated sugar adds just enough sweetness to the crust. I don’t recommend cane sugar or regular sugar, because both are too grainy.
Use full-fat block cream cheese. Cream cheese spread has too much air in it, and the low-fat cream cheese doesn’t stand up well enough to the other ingredients.
Soften the cream cheese for about 15 minutes on the counter. This prevents a lumpy cheesecake mixture and the cream cheese mixes more easily.
Fresh lemon juice adds such a nice pop of tart flavor and brightens up the cheesecake.
Make sure to use powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar). If you use granulated sugar the cheesecake will have a grainy texture.
MAKING THE WHIPPED CREAM
Make your own whipped cream! It tastes better, and you can make it fresh as needed.
Use heavy whipping cream for the best consistency. Half and half doesn’t do the trick.
Use a metal bowl and whisk, and chill them both in the fridge. I’ll do that when I take out the cream cheese to soften, and this ensures that the whipped cream is light and airy.
The great thing about Mini No-Bake Cheesecake is that the topping options are all yours. Keep it simple with no toppings at all. Or, drizzle with melted chocolate or top with fresh raspberries.
One of my favorite topping combinations is strawberries and fresh blueberries. I macerate the strawberries in a little bit of granulated sugar and keep the blueberries fresh.
SERVINGS AND LEFTOVERS
Serving Mini No Bake Cheesecakes for a crowd? Do a make-your-own-cheesecake bar! Make a variety of toppings, portioned into bowls, and let your guests top with their favorites.
What about leftovers? Store the leftover Mini No Bake Cheesecakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you know you’ll have leftovers, don’t top them until you’re ready to eat them.
Mini No-Bake Cheesecake from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 graham crackers)* SEE NOTES
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 16oz full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar)
- 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 16oz fresh strawberries
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
- Put the metal bowl and whisk into the fridge to chill
- IF USING GRAHAM CRACKERS: break graham crackers in half and add to the food processor. Grind until the crackers become crumbs
- Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add granulated sugar and stir together
- Add melted butter and mix well to combine
- Place cupcake liners into the muffin pans. Using a 1 Tablespoon measure, fill each of the liners with the crust. Press down with the back of the measuring spoon to fill the bottom of the bases.
- Put the muffin pans into the freezer while you make the filling
- Add the cream cheese to the bowl of the stand mixer. Affix the paddle attachment and mix on medium until soft
- Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium until fully combined. Remove the bowl and set aside.
- Take the bowl and whisk out of the fridge, and put onto the stand mixer. Add the heavy cream. Mix on medium-low for 30 seconds; turn to high and mix until stiff peaks have formed.
- Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold together. I recommend adding about 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time, so it’s evenly incorporated
- Take the muffin pans out of the freezer. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each cupcake liner, evenly filling all of them. Smooth the top of each cheesecake with an offset spatula or an icing spatula
- Put the muffins pan into the fridge for at least 6 hours, up to overnight.
- 30 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING
- Core the strawberries and cut them as desired. Add the strawberries to a bowl, along with granulated sugar. Rest for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through
- Carefully take the cheesecakes from the muffin pans. Top each one with a spoon of the macerated strawberries and a few blueberries.