I didn’t used to like cheesecake, then I tried chocolate cheesecake and I could totally get behind that. And then when my sister made this cheesecake the first time, I became a full convert. There’s nothing like a sweet, crunchy crust paired with rich, creamy cheesecake. Now you have all the deliciousness of cheesecake in an easily pre-portioned serving. These are perfect for a party or for storing in the freezer for whenever a craving strikes. You could top these with the blackberry topping from my favorite cheesecake, or you could go with a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce. But I kept them simple with just some fresh blueberries and strawberries, which makes them perfect for 4th of July if you’re looking for an easy make-ahead dessert.
Makes 32 cupcakes
- 1 (11oz) box Nilla wafer cookies
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 (8oz) packages reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, and set aside.
In a food processor, add Nilla wafers and pecans and pulse until a fine crumb forms. Pour in butter and vanilla extract and pulse until well mixed. Divide crumbs among 32 muffin cups, about 1 Tbsp in each. Then using a flat-bottomed glass, press the crumbs to form the crust. Bake for about 5 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add salt and vanilla, beating until well-mixed. Add the eggs one at at time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down the sides as you go. Divide the batter among the prepared crusts, filling until almost full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed up and set (there will still be a little jiggle, but not much). Allow the cheesecakes to cool (they’ll deflate as they cool). Once the cheesecakes have cooled all the way, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Top with fresh fruit just before serving.
I haven’t tried freezing these, but most cheesecake freezes well, so you should be able to wrap and store in air-tight containers and then thaw overnight in the fridge. If you try it, let me know how it works for you!