My poor mom is currently recovering from an unfortunate accident involving a tree and a long way down and is residing in what we’ll just call Fracture City. My mom is one of my favorite people and I hate that there’s nothing I can really do to make it better (other than not taking the boys over to play), but thankfully, because it’s my mom we’re talking about, there’s cheesecake. Cheesecake, at least for the two of us, can go a long way to fix a lot of things, especially if that cheesecake is chocolate.
These baby cheesecakes are made in a muffin pan so there’s no clean-up and they’re pre-portioned. Sometimes I add a crust, but most of the time I’m all about maximizing the cheese part of the cake and skipping the calories I could do without. This is one of those times when I went crust-less, but if you want that extra layer here’s what I would do: make the baby cakes without a crust, then when you unwrap them, roll the sides and bottom in a bowl of graham cracker or chocolate cookie crumbs. Easy peasy.
The best cheesecakes I’ve ever made were baked in a water bath and even though it’s a big fat pain, it’s worth the effort. In this case, you’re going to need to make a miniature bain-marie by filling a cookie sheet with water and placing the muffin pan in that. It’s easiest if you start with the empty cookie sheet in the oven, then add the water from a pitcher. Good luck getting it back out–that’s going to take a calm breath, steady hands, and clearing all Hot Wheels from the vicinity.
Want to skip writing the recipe down and just print it? All you need to do is click on recipe below and you’re good to go from there.
Dark Chocolate Baby Cheesecakes
- 1 pound cream cheese (2 blocks), room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons Dutched cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then line a regular-size muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- 2. In a large bowl, add 1/3 cup of sugar, cocoa powder and corn starch and mix until combined. Add half the cream cheese and mix with an electric mixer until the cocoa mixture is fully combined with the cream cheese—it will form small pebble-sized pieces first, then one smooth mixture.
- 3. Add the remaining cream cheese and mix until fully incorporated.
- 4. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl and microwave in 45-second increments until slightly melted. Meanwhile, measure heavy cream into a small bowl and add instant espresso. Stir chocolate chips with a fork until no lumps remain.
- 5. Scrape melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture along with remaining sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
- 6. Pour the cream-espresso mixture into the cheesecake batter and mix only until incorporated, do not over mix.
- 7. Divide the batter among all the muffin cups. Place a baking tray in the oven and set the muffin pan in the tray, then fill the baking tray with water half-way up the side of the muffin cups to make a water bath.
- 8. Bake the cheesecakes for 35 minutes, and then remove the muffin pan to a cooling rack. Let the cheesecakes cool to room temperature for one hour, then refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
Based on “Little Fellas” from Junior’s Cheesecake Book.
Do you have something that cheers you up or smooths over a rough spot, food or otherwise?
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