no-bake cheesecake bites with chocolate + strawberries
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*yields approx. 20 mini-cupcakes*

Ingredients:

Crust:

1-½  cups of graham cracker crumbs

6-8 tbsps of melted unsalted butter

4 tbsps of white granulated sugar

Cream cheese filling:

16 oz of plain full fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup of powdered sugar

2 tsp of vanilla extract

2/3 cup of cold heavy cream

Topping:

1 cup of chocolate chips

3-4 tbsps of milk

½ lb of strawberries, sliced or chopped

Other:

3 bowls for mixing

Stand or hand mixer

20 cupcake liners

2 – 12 cup muffin pans

Spatula 

Directions:

Line the muffin pans with the cupcake liners. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the crust, making sure the graham cracker crumbs are damp but not too wet. Once mixed, spoon some of the mixture into each cupcake liner, and press down to form a crust. You can put as much or little as you want in each cup, but this will determine how many mini cheesecakes you get. Once all the liners are filled, put the muffin pans in the fridge for at least 10 minutes or until the cheesecake filling is ready. To start the filling, take another bowl, and mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract for about 3 minutes, or until smooth. Set aside. In the third bowl, being mixing the cold heavy cream on a medium high speed until stiff peaks form and the cream becomes whipped cream. Stiff peaks means the whipped cream won’t fall easily. This can take up to 5 minutes, and works easiest when the cream is very cold. Once you have your whipped cream, gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture. You want the two to be combined well, but you don’t want the whipped cream to fall too much. When the filling is combined, take the muffin pans out of your fridge, and pour the filling on top of the crust in each liner. You can fill it with how much filling you want, but that will dictate how many mini cheesecakes you have – try to make them as even as possible. Once all the cheesecakes are made, cover with plastic wrap and put the muffin tins back in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, but overnight if you can. This will help them set. When you are ready to decorate, melt the chocolate chips and milk in a bowl in the microwave. Use 30 second intervals and stir well. You want the chocolate to be pourable. Add more milk if the chocolate is too stiff. Remove cheesecakes from the fridge and decorate as you wish with the chocolate and strawberries. Refrigerate the cheesecakes for an additional hour. Serve cold, and keep in the fridge. Enjoy!

*note: to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened, let sit at room temperature for at least 4-5 hours. The cheesecake filling won’t come out smooth if the cream cheese isn’t completely softened. Also, if your cheesecakes don’t seem set, you might have under-whipped the heavy cream, or over mixed the heavy cream and cheesecake. You can pop the cheesecakes in the freezer for an hour or so to help them set up. They’ll still taste good! Lastly, you can top these with whatever you want, doesn’t have to be chocolate and strawberries. These would be great over the summer with in-season fruit.