Mini Cheesecakes

 By Carolyn Kaiser – Monday, 2/13/20

I am so glad to be able to see our sunsets lasting a little longer each day.  It’s been a long winter in our house.  Both Rich and I have battled a couple episodes of “The Cough”; not influenza, but what seems to be a significant “cold” with a forever lasting cough.  I am sure many of you have experienced this same bug.  As I write this today, I think we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  We will greet spring with open arms at our house.   

So, whether it be candy, flowers or a date night out to dinner, there is not a lot of time left to find the perfect token of affection for the one(s) we love.  Valentine’s Day is just hours away.  I put an “s” behind “one” because, besides our significant other, we may have relatives or friends who warrant a token of our affection on Valentine’s Day - our children, grandchildren, a favorite aunt or uncle, grandparents or a special friend.  A shut-in, someone in a retirement home or nursing home setting would appreciate being remembered with Valentine wishes more than you will ever know.  

For as long as I can remember, flowers, candy or some sort of sweets, have been the staple gift on Valentine’s Day.  In the category of “some sort of sweets”, cheesecake is what comes to my mind.  Then again, cheesecake comes to my mind many times outside of Valentine’s Day.  I. Love. Cheesecake!  Topped with anything from cherries, strawberries, fresh fruits of your choice, chocolate, nuts, caramel . . . oh my!  Cheesecake is just delicious any way, even plain.  Cheesecake is probably the easiest dessert to make; yet, it always has a look of elegance when topped properly.   

My recipe for today is, you guessed it; cheesecake.  But these are mini cheesecakes, 3 dozen to be exact.  One could make these and give some as Valentine gifts and keep a few for yourself.  Cheesecake, if covered in a tightly closed container, will last for several days in the refrigerator. 

MINI CHEESECAKES

3 dozen (2-inch) foil baking cups 1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 dozen vanilla wafers2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 

1-2/3 cup chocolate chips (chocolate2 large eggs, (I use extra large)

    or white chocolate) 1 tsp. vanilla 

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese at 

    room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Place baking cups on sided baking sheet(s) cupcake pans.  Place one vanilla wafer, flat side down, on bottom of each cup.  Place 5 to 6 chocolate chips on top of each wafer.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed until well-blended.  Spoon heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mixture into each foil baking cup.  

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until just set but not browned.  Remove pans from oven to wire rack.  While the cheesecakes are still warm (but not hot), top each with remaining chocolate chips.  The chocolate chips will soften, but will retain their shape.  

Cool the cups completely outside of the refrigerator.  When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate.  

Just a Thought - Go ahead and put the chocolate chips on top of the wafers in the foil cups.  Then, and in lieu of chocolate chips as a topping, do any of the following to top the cheesecakes: 

- Fresh fruits, washed and well-drained and fairly dry.

- Blueberry, Cherry or Strawberry pie filling.  Perhaps a dollop of lemon pie filling would be tasty as well.

- Drizzle a small amount of caramel topping over the chocolate chips. 

- Cover with mini-chips; chocolate, white chocolate or a combination. 

- Whatever topping you choose, serve the topped mini-cheesecake cups completely chilled.

Wishing you all a very HAPPY VALENTINE DAY!  See you in a couple of weeks.