Birthdays, aside from giving me a reason to celebrate someone I love, also give me an excuse to bake an obscene amount of treats. For example, 4 dozen mini cherry cheesecakes! September 21st marked my brother's first birthday in he and his new wife's (my amazing sister-in-law, Erica!) new home as well as the last birthday of his twenties. In other words - bittersweet. So, I had to make something bittersweet that would be appropriate for a BBQ. I found this idea in a magazine and tweaked it a little. It's super simple, super refreshing, and with it's mixture of creamy cheesecake and tart berries, it pretty much defines the word bittersweet!
The supplies needed are pretty basic: muffin tins (not cupcakes!), 2" aluminum mini baking cups (they can be found at Publix, but they're pretty hard to spot, especially for short girls like myself! :\), 2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. each), a box of vanilla wafers (you'll need 48 - I think a box contains 50), eggs, lemon juice, vanilla extract, sugar, and cherry pie filling. Actually, you could use ANY kind of pie filling - cherry, blueberry, strawberry, anything ending in "erry" :).
Now for the fun part :). First, I lined the muffin tin with the aluminum baking cups. Unfortunately I only have one muffin tin, so I had to make a couple of batches. After placing the baking cups in their tins, I placed a vanilla wafer in each one (flat-side down) and proceeded to make the cheesecake portion. Okay, seriously, cheesecake is food of the gods. Who doesn't like cheesecake?! It has a whole freaken restaurant named in it's honor! I, for one, LOVE cheesecake. As you can imagine, it was kind of torturous making these .. but they were worth it! Cheesecake is fairly easy to make. Let the cream cheese soften (couple of hours at least) and mix it with the appropriate amounts of eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Of course, there are different ways to make cheesecake, which I have personally explored many of, but this basic mixture was perfect for this particular project.
The ingredients were mixed until dreamily creamy (can you feel my pain here??) and then about a tablespoon was scooped into each baking cup. After baking each batch at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes and letting them cool, I topped the mini cheesecakes with a little spoonful of cherry pie filling. The result was the cutest tray of sweet tarts ever!
Happy 29th Birthday, Tata! :)