Whenever I go to the grocery store I stop by almost every item that I know that has recipes on it like chocolate chip packages, soup cans, and every little recipe card I can find! Sometimes those recipes turn out okay and sometimes they turn out to be amazing!
Now I have always been a fan of chocolate with just about anything and the recipe that I found this past weekend was chocolate and peppermint. With all my Christmas baking that I was about to do, I thought it would fit right in!
So without further adieu:
Peppermint Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes – makes 24 mini cheesecakes but you may want to double (or triple!) this recipe
3 graham crackers
1/2 cup pecans, toasted (optional)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 3.5 oz Ghirardelli Pepeprmint Bark Baking Bar, chopped
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup whipping cream
mini muffin liners
Before I start any recipe that involves the oven, I always turn it on! Mostly because I’m a little impatient and once I’m ready to put my goodies in the oven, I really don’t like waiting for it to heat up! So to begin with, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
First, work on the crust. I put the graham crackers in a bag and hit it repeatedly with my meat tenderizer. Maybe a little ghetto yes but not only are meat tenderizers great for chopping stuff up but also to help let off a little steam sometimes, especially when it’s for a delicious cause! Or if you don’t have any steam to let off or just want a little less mess, you can always put them in a food processor and chop them up fine that way.
Once you have your golden crumbs, put them in a bowl with your melted butter and mix together. It should look like this only with a little more, I got so excited that I forgot to take the picture til I was halfway through putting the mixture into the cups… oops.
Put your mini muffin liners in your mini muffin pan and spoon one teaspoon of the mixture into each liner and press it into the bottom. I found the easiest way to portion it was to use a teaspoon.
Bake your crusts for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Then let them cool.
While you’re waiting on your crusts to bake and cool, start your filling.
With a mixer, beat your cream cheese until smooth or about 1 minute on high. Add sugar and beat until smooth again and then add your egg and beat again. On low speed stir in the cream. It should be nice and creamy. If it has chunks it in you didn’t beat your cream cheese smooth enough and you may have to take a scraper and push the chunks onto the side of your bowl to smooth them out.
Then put your chocolate and 1/3 of the peppermint bark baking bar (make sure it’s chopped! you can use the meat tenderizer method or a food processor for this too) in a microwave safe bowl. I added about a teaspoon of oil to it mostly because I haven’t had much luck with microwaving chocolate, usually it comes out in a burnt glob but adding a little oil makes it nice and creamy like it should be. Or you can try to use a double boiler which I also have not had much success with (unless you count the lemon curd I made right after this recipe which turned out amazing!).
Melt it for about 30 second then take it out and stir it. You may have to microwave it a little more but make sure your chocolate isn’t all the way melted and stir it all together to melt it the rest of the way so it’s super creamy!
Then add half of the chocolate mixture to your cream cheese mixture and mix until combined. Now add the other half. Anything that doesn’t get scraped into the cream cheese mix, make sure to taste! Even if you have to use your finger to scrape your bowl, it is delicious and so worth it!
If you have a small ice cream scoop like the kind from pampered chef, now is a great time to use it! Or you can just use a Tablespoon to fill up each cup. I filled mine all the way to the top.
Remember the whole impatient thing… this picture was taken right after I put them in the oven because I was to impatient to wait until I changed the batteries in my camera. I mean that’s a whole 30 seconds that they could be baking instead!
Bake the cheesecakes until set about 10-12 minutes.
When they come out, they should look like this:
Let them cool about 15 minutes and then refrigerate at least 4 hours. I got distracted by all my other baking that mine were in there about 6 hours before I remembered them! After your 4 hour (or 6 hour!) wait, then remove them from your pans. You probably could take them out right after they come out of the oven but they might fall a little and not be so pretty so I waited to remove them.
And now, you can top them with whipped cream and some of the remaining peppermint bark that you chopped up for a beautiful looking mini cheesecake! (Sorry about the blurry picture, my camera skills need some work)
It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the Cheesecake Factory but I think that these are better than their chocolate cheesecake! It was so good!
Since I only made 24 and I was sending them to work with my husband, it was so hard to only eat one!
And there you have it, recipes from the grocery store can be amazing! Especially if they involve chocolate and peppermint!