I love these because they can look formal or informal and the topping choices are endless. I read that the reason the founder of The Cheesecake Factory chose cheesecake as his main dessert is because it was always the most popular at his mom’s restaurant. These usually go very quickly on any dessert table.
The crust is up to you. Here I have included the super easy and fast method. I try to make everything from scratch especially considering Nilla wafers don’t even have real vanilla in them anymore, but I haven’t found a suitable copycat of their recipe. I personally love oreo cookies as the crust. You could also go traditional and crumble up some graham crackers and mix with melted butter and sugar. Or crumble up some oreos and mix with melted butter (there is already enough sugar in the cookie that additional is unnecessary).
**My notes from past failures of these.**
1. Make sure the cream cheese is good quality and fresh.
2. Make sure the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature. Or you get lumps. (They still are tasty though)
3. I had much better luck adding the lemon juice at the very end per instructions below. Adding it in with the eggs curdled my batter.
4. Make them 1 day ahead of time. They taste much much better the next day after sitting in the refrigerator.
5. Add the topping up to 2 hours prior to serving. Otherwise it seeps into the cheesecake.
6. Mix everything on LOW speed. You don’t want air in a cheesecake.
yield 14 mini cheesecakes
14 vanilla wafers
2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, room temp.
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temp.
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1.5 cups cherry pie filling (or use chocolate syrup, caramel, chocolate chips, blueberry pie filling, etc.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular size muffin tin with liners and place one vanilla wafer inside flat-side down.
2. On an electric mixer with paddle attachment on LOW, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
3. Add sugar until smooth. Scrape and eggs one at a time. Before fully incorporated, scrape slowly and frequently. Add eggs slowly.
4. Now add the lemon juice. (or you could use lemon zest, or orange zest, or vanilla extract…)
5. I use my large cookie scoop to measure 3 Tablespoons of batter. This is enough to fill the well about 2/3 full.
6. Put in the oven for 15-17 minutes. They won’t jiggle in the middle and that is how I know they are done.
7. Prefer but not necessary: store in refrigerator overnight. Top with filling just before serving.
Recipe from allrecipes.com