Mini cheesecakes with graham cracker crust made in a muffin pan. Small batch mini cheesecake recipe makes 4 mini cheesecake cupcakes.

Mini Cheesecakes with graham cracker crust, Chocolate and Heart Strawberries

Before we get to the land of perfectly chocolate-glazed mini cheesecakes with heart strawberry cut-outs, we have to start at the beginning.

We all love cheesecake. We can all over-do it on cheesecake.

I’ve been playing with my recipe for small batch cheesecake made in muffin cups for probably a decade. To be exact–since the time my roommate in college made these by dropping in a nilla wafer instead of bothering with a crust. (I went to college before Pinterest existed, and yes, I am so very old).

The gracious thing about mini cheesecakes in muffin cups is that you can’t really over-do it. Especially when you’re only making a small batch. This recipe makes just 4 mini cheesecakes with graham cracker crust. Two mini cheesecake cupcakes for you, two mini cheesecake cupcakes for me, and then none for tomorrow when we should get back to our January diets.

Mini Cheesecakes with graham cracker crust

Mini Cheesecakes with graham cracker crust

Mini Cheesecakes with graham cracker crust

Mini cheesecakes with graham cracker crust baking steps:

-Make sure your oven is at 325 instead of 350.

-After baking, let these babes cool near the oven. Crack the door and let the heat from the oven escape near the cheesecakes. In my experience, temperature extremes cause more cracks in cheesecakes than over-baking them. A gentle, even cooling situation will help you out here. But I mean, seriously: we’re going to slather them in chocolate, and shower them with strawberry hearts. If they crack on you, proceed with full steam ahead. This same rule applies for my small batch cheesecake in a loaf pan, too.

-Use a hand mixer to beat together all of the ingredients BEFORE you add the egg. When you add the egg, just stir it in with a spatula or wooden spoon. Beating the egg with the hand mixer can over-inflate the batter, causing it to puff in the oven. What comes up must come down, and often that will lead to cracks. Don’t do it!

I bake these, let them cool on the counter all afternoon, and then refrigerate them overnight. The next day, I add a spoonful of melted chocolate and start cutting out hearts from strawberries. It’s not as onerous as it looks: I used a mini pie crust vent cutter in the shape of the heart (the exact same one I used for the cover shot of my cookbook Sweet & Simple). Just cut 4 little planks from each strawberry, cut out a cute heart, and then use the rest of the strawberry in a smoothie. (You can toss the strawberry remnants in a freezer bag for later smoothies, too)

If you have any leftover strawberry hearts, float them in a cocktail. I just might have done that tonight, and I just might take photos next time and share that with you.

Mini Cheesecakes with graham cracker crust

If this doesn’t say ‘be my Valentine,’ then I’m all out of ideas.

I’d marry you if you made me these mini cheesecakes with graham cracker crust.

Go on, give it a shot.

Mini Cheesecakes with graham cracker crust

Yield: 4 mini cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes
Small batch mini cheesecakes for two.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers (about 3 sheets)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • strawberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325, and line 4 cups in a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat very well until combined.
  3. Stir the egg in by hand (do not use a mixer for this step).
  4. Divide the batter between the cups, and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Let the cheesecakes cool near the oven--no drastic temperature changes.
  6. Chill the cheesecakes overnight, covered in the fridge.
  7. Before serving, melt the chocolate and coconut oil either in a double boiler, or in the microwave in 20-second pulses, stirring each time.
  8. To make strawberry hearts, use a 1/2" tiny heart pie crust cookie cutter. Slice 2-3 planks off each strawberry, and cut out a heart from each. Reserve the rest of the berry of another use (smoothie time!).
  9. Decorate each cheesecake with a spoonful of melted chocolate, and sprinkle the hearts on the cheesecakes like you own the place.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1187 Total Fat: 83g Saturated Fat: 51g Cholesterol: 188mg Sodium: 583mg Carbohydrates: 102g Sugar: 96g Protein: 11g