I forgot to use my cute little candy holders last year for Valentine's Day, so I had to take a picture of them this year. Aren't they cute? I originally bought them because I was going to bento...but I've found that I have zero motivation to make a cute lunch if I'm not going anywhere to eat it. So, my bento stuff got put in storage, and now I'm looking for ways to use it.
I first thought of these little cheesecake bites for my niece. She likes little things - mini cupcakes, bite size cookies, etc. So i was thinking...I wonder how I could make a bite size cheesecake. Now, I do have some "individual" cheesecake pans, but I wasn't really looking for something like that.
These little bites are just perfect. The are a bit more than a bite - well, they are a BIG bite, or 2 small ones. And, they are delicious. I really love the way the cherry juice tints the cheesecake pink. I think these are quite perfect for gifts. They are just enough cheesecake in a bite to satisfy that sweet tooth, without taking a piece. And, my niece loved them.
You may think it's wasteful to make a cheesecake, and then cut out little molds to dip into chocolate. However, you would be surprised at what you can do with some leftover cheesecake. You can roll the leftovers into balls, refrigerate, and dip in chocolate for the non-cherry in the center version. You can just stick them in the freezer, and then eat it yourself - one bite at a time. Finally, you can fold it into ice cream for cheesecake ice cream. I must admit, just eating it a little at a time worked the best for me.
Like my stylized pic? I'm learning photoshop...
Finally, this is an option for your leftover melting chocolate. Make chocolate coated pretzels. I did this, but I added some caramel. So I thought I would include a quick how to on this. The easiest way I've found to include caramel is unwrap some caramels and place them in a large ziploc bag. Melt the caramel for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Smoosh (yes, that is a word!) the caramel around the bag and form it into a thin layer within the bag. Freeze for 5-10 minutes.
Peel the caramel off the ziploc bag and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twirl the caramel around a large pretzel stick, then dip the entire thing in coating chocolate. The best way to do this is to buy a tall thin slurpy cup, and put your melting chocolate in that. It's easy to dip your pretzel sticks in that!
For a PDF of the recipe, click here.
Cherry Cheesecake Bites
For the cheesecake:
24 oz cream cheese (that’s 3-8oz packages), at room temperature
1 7oz jar maraschino cherries with stems, with juice reserved
1/3 c. all- purpose flour
½ t. lemon juice
1/3 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
Place cream cheese in the mixing bowl, and mix until smooth. Add maraschino cherry juice and sugar, and mix until very well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, flour, and lemon juice, and mix well. Mixture will turn a light pink, but should be an even color when finished mixing.
Pour the mixture into a tight 8” spring-form pan. Since there is no crust for this recipe, it’s a good idea to cook on a baking sheet, and/or tightly wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil.
Place the maraschino cherries in the mixture, letting the stems stick out, so you know where the cherries are located. The cheesecake mixture is solid enough the cherries will stay upright. You really want to know where the cherries are, so you can cut around them, so it’s important to leave the stems on.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until the center is starting to get firm when the pan is gently shaken. Cool completely to room temperature, followed by cooling in the refrigerator.
To make the bites:
1/2 lb. coating chocolate
Cherry cheesecake from above
With a 1” or 1 1/2” diameter round cutter, cut the cheesecake into bites. The best way to do this is to center the stem within your cutter, and press evenly down. These can be a bit tricky to get out of the pan, so it’s easiest to start on the outer edges, and work your way in. In order to get a clean cut around the sides, keep your cutter warm by having a shallow bowl full of hot water, and dipping it in the water after each cut. I used a metal spatula to remove the bites
Reserve your scrap cheesecake and shape into 1” round balls. You can dip these in chocolate as well, or put them in the freezer for cooks snacks later.
Refrigerate your candies for at least 4 hours, until the sides are firm. They should be well chilled before you coat them in chocolate.
Melt chocolate according to package directions. Dip your candies in chocolate, removing any excess before placing on waxed paper or aluminum foil. Let set until chocolate is firm. If desired, you can double dip the bites into a bit of white coating chocolate as well.
Store in refrigerator.