I like cheesecake. I like it a lot. However...it's just one of those desserts that I find myself craving, but then am completely satisfied after only two or three bites. I'm not sure why, but I've always been that way. I'll always take a mini cheesecake cup, cheesecake square, or cheesecake pop over an actual slice of cheesecake. Sometimes it's just nice to have something sweet that you can just pop into your mouth and enjoy in just two or three bites. And if there's a strawberry in there somewhere, then I'm just all over it!
Not to mention that these cheesecake bites are completely adorable, and can also be a very elegant way to serve cheesecake. It's like a slice of cheesecake, but transformed so that you can have an entire cheesecake in only one bite! Much more sophisticated than gobbling down an entire slice....although...you may find it hard to restrain yourself with this one, and you might end up watching yourself just pick up cheesecake bite after cheesecake bite, they're that good! Sigh, so much for trying to be elegant and classy.
But honestly. When you have a a mini strawberry swirl cheesecake bite in front of you that is THAT good...who cares how many you eat! They're simply delicious!
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bites
inspired by Annie's Eats
For the crust:
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
For the cheesecake:
- 1 pound (2-8 oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
For the strawberry puree:
- 4 oz fresh strawberries (about 4 medium sized strawberries)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease nonstick mini cupcake wells (I was able to make 48 mini cheesecakes) with non-stick spray. Be sure to grease the cupcake tin very well, since this recipe does not use paper liners*.
In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar with a fork until well incorporated and the mixture is moist. Press about 1 teaspoon of the crust mixture into the bottom of each cupcake well, and flatten (a shot glass fit perfectly into each cupcake well!). Bake the crust in the oven for about 5 minutes, or just until the crust begins to set. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.
Make the strawberry puree while the crusts bake. Blend together the strawberries and the sugar, and then pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in the sugar until completely smooth, and then mix in the vanilla and salt. Finally, beat each egg in, one at a time, making sure to mix fully after each addition.
To assemble the cheesecakes, add about 1 tablespoon of cheesecake batter to each cupcake well. Add a couple of drops of the strawberry puree on top, and gently swirl with a toothpick.
Bake the mini cheesecakes in the oven for about 20 minutes, or just until the filling begins to set. Remove the cheesecakes from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack until they reach room temperature. At this point, carefully remove the cheesecakes from the cupcake tin, and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
* I chose to bake my mini cheesecakes without paper liners, because I thought they would look a little more sophisticated that way. However, if baking in a cupcake tin without paper liners seems a bit intimidating, then by all means go ahead and use paper liners!