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Friday, January 21, 2011

Mini Turtle Cheesecakes

Today is day one of a mini cheesecake extravaganza! Our New Year's Eve celebration also happened to be a birthday party for our awesome Irishman friend Robert. If there were ever a day I wish this blog had audio features, today would be that day. I wish I could share his wonderful Irish accent with you, especially when praising these mini cheesecakes!

When Maggie and I asked Robert what kind of cheesecake he preferred for his birthday, he couldn't decide. To be honest, he was just impressed that we were making a cheesecake, rather than just picking one up at the store. Of course, Maggie and I are always up for a challenge and ultimately decided to make 3 kinds of cheesecake in honor of Robert. We opted for mini cheesecakes so that people had the chance to try multiple kinds...and believe me, we did!

First up are mini turtle cheesecakes. Of the three I'll post, I really can't give you a favorite. In fact, no one was really able to select their favorite variation. I will say that if you love chocolate and caramel, I highly recommend these. The cheesecake is rich and creamy. Topped with chocolate, caramel, and a pecan, these are downright outrageous!

Stay tuned for the two other types of mini cheesecakes we made, coming Saturday and Sunday!

One Year Ago: Popovers

Mini Turtle Cheesecakes
adapted from Fake Ginger

for the crust-
-1 1/4 cups ground chocolate cookie (Oreo) crumbs
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

for the filling-
-1 1/2 (12 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup plain yogurt

for the topping-
-jarred caramel sauce (or be ambitious and make your own!)
-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-2 tbsp butter
-12 whole pecans

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter in a large bowl until crumbs are moist. Spoon a tbsp of crust mixture into each liner and press down. Bake crusts for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla gradually, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, just until blended. Stir in yogurt.
3. Spoon filling equally into each liner (almost to the top) and bake for 15 minutes, until cheesecakes are slightly puffed in the center. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate at least a few hours, preferable overnight.
4. Prior to serving, add topping. Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, until chocolate is melted. Drizzle chocolate on top of cheesecakes (I placed in a ziploc bag and cut the tip off, then piped the chocolate on). Heat caramel sauce in the microwave before drizzling atop cheesecakes. Place a whole pecan in the center of each cheesecake. Keep cheesecakes refrigerated until serving.