Last week we celebrated our daughter’s twelfth birthday with our family. As is tradition, the birthday girl got to choose the dessert. While most people think of cakes and birthdays as a given pairing, our kids tend to choose other dessert items. Sam decided on a chocolate swirl cheesecake.
I had figured that Sam would want something with chocolate, as all four of our kids are chocolate addicts. However, more than half of our crowd aren’t chocolate lovers. So, I needed to find a way to make a dessert that would please the birthday girl and her adoring crowd. Obviously, my first option was to make two cheesecakes, but with a total headcount of nine people, that would be way too much dessert. My second option was to make a chocolate swirl cheesecake and serve something different to the non-chocolate group, but there still would be a lot of leftovers. Luckily, option three occurred to me: make individual cheesecakes, some with and some without chocolate swirl.
This idea worked fabulously. In addition to pleasing all partygoers, it made serving the cheesecake so much easier. No matter whether I’ve tried using a cold knife, a knife dipped in hot water, a serrated knife, etc., the cutting tool always ends up coated in cheesecake, and the slices look messy. With individual cheesecakes there was no cutting and a lot less mess.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. butter, melted
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 300. Cut parchment paper into twelve 1-inch wide strips, and place one strip into each muffin cup. (Make the strips long enough to extend over the side, so you can use them as handles to remove the cheesecakes.)
In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Divide evenly among muffin cups, pressing firmly into each.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape sides of the bowl, add one egg, and beat well. Repeat with second egg. Add vanilla and sour cream, and mix until combined. Divide batter among muffin cups.
Bake for approximately 18 minutes, or until filling is firm but jiggles slightly in the center. Allow to cool completely, then remove from pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Follow the recipe above, but do not pour batter into the pans.
Divide batter evenly into two bowls. Using one bowl of plain cheesecake batter, divide evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Add 2 ounces of melted semi-sweet baking chocolate into other bowl of cheesecake batter, and mix well. Spoon this batter into muffin cups.
Bake, cool, and refrigerate as directed above.