Hello everyone and welcome to my fourth installment of mini cheesecakes because evidently, I have become obsessed with my mini cheesecake pan. It is an absolute pain in the neck to wash but that won't keep me from using it over and over again. Not that I hear you guys complaining; these Nutella cheesecakes were a total hit last month!
So I am at it again, this time providing you with a wonderful idea for Valentine's Day! Ditch the overpriced chocolate covered strawberries and make these cheesecakes instead! Chcoolate ganache beats a hard chocolate shell any day of the week.
Also, you don't have to worry about strawberries not being in season because these cheesecakes are made with freeze-dried strawberries. Shout out to my local ALDI store who recently started carrying them! Don't you just love ALDI?
Freeze-dried fruit in general is God's gift to bakers I think. It makes flavoring things so much easier! Stay tuned for another freeze-dried fruit recipe coming later this week!
Mini Chocolate Covered Strawberry CheesecakesYield: 12 cheesecakes
Ingredients:For the crust:
12 Oreos, finely crushed
1 and 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
For the cheesecake:
1.2 oz. bag freeze-dried strawberries, finely ground
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
pinch of vanilla powder ( or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 cup heavy cream
For the chocolate ganache:
1.5 oz milk chocolate chips
1.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the cavities of a 12-cup mini cheesecake pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, using a fork, mix together crushed Oreos and melted butter until all crumbs are evenly moistened. Place a heaping tablespoon of crumbs into each cavity of the cheesecake pan and use the bottom of a shot glass or any flat-bottomed object to press down and compact the crumbs into an even layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
To the bowl of a food processor, add ground freeze-dried strawberries, sugar, and flour. Process until combined. Add cream cheese and process until smooth and creamy and no lumps remain. Add eggs, one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Add in milk, sour cream, and vanilla, and process 5 seconds. Add in heavy cream and process for an additional 10 seconds.
Using a large cookie scoop, about 3 tablespoons, distribute batter between each cavity of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until cheesecakes are mostly set and jiggle only slightly. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecakes to stay in there for an additional hour while they cool down. Remove from the oven and refrigerate overnight.
Remove cheesecakes by pushing up from the bottom of each cavity.
To prepare the topping, place chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for one minute. Then, use a spoon to stir the chocolate and heavy cream together until chocolate chips are fully melted.
Top cooled cheesecakes with a spoonful of chocolate ganache. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until serving.