mini cheesecakes with chocolate cookie base

cheesecake with cookie base

Last month, when it was time to make cookies to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve, my insistent soon-to-be 8 year old decided we needed a chocolate cookie instead of the butter cookies we had made the day before. I searched my recipes, but nothing jumped out at me as the perfect chocolate cookie for Santa, so I did the logical next step by going to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. There I found her White Chipper Chocolate Cookies. Perfect! We made a batch on Christmas Eve and we all loved them, as I’m sure Santa did as well, based on the empty plate we found the next morning.

One thing about this recipe: It makes a lot of cookies. At least 4 dozen. Which got us wondering what we could do in addition to regular cookies because even though we’re cookie lovers, even the most delicious cookie can seem boring when you have over 4 dozen of them to eat. My soon-to-be college freshman daughter immediately thinks of cheesecake when we’re brainstorming things to bake. I remembered the other mini cheesecakes she made, the ones with an Oreo as the base. I thought, why not use one of these delicious white chipper chocolate cookies as the base? We were drooling just imagining how yummy it would taste!

So that’s what we did last week. We made the cookies as per Mel’s recipe, and made two dozen as regular cookies.

white chipper chocolate cookies (2)

The remaining cookie dough was put into muffin tins lined with paper liners. We put in one rounded tablespoon of dough into each paper liner. These in the muffin tins we took out of the oven on the lower end of the baking time — just before the 9 minutes were up. (We used 2 pans, for a total of 24 mini cheesecakes.)

cookies in muffin tins

After they were baked and cooled, my daughter made the cheese cake using the basic Philadelphia cream cheese recipe, but halved the ingredients, which ends up being:

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Once those ingredients were blended together, she put a large scoop of this cream cheese mixture onto each of the cookies in the paper liners in the muffin tins, filling them about 1/2 – 2/3 full.

cookie base with cheesecake

These little goodies were baked at 325F for 20 minutes. Once cooled, they needed to be refrigerated for a couple hours before serving.

cheesecake with cookie base (2)

Good news: They were as delicious as I expected they would be! And I think next Christmas Eve we may surprise Santa with one of these mini cheesecakes instead of just cookies. We’ll be the favorite house on his route!

vanilla bean cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

vanilla bean cupcake 1

Last Thursday during lunch time I received this text from my teenage daughter (FYI: At our local high school the students are allowed to use their cellphones during lunch period):

do we have vanilla beans?

My response:

No

Then this text from her, two minutes later:

I want to make vanilla bean cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

My response to that:

Yummmmmmy

~~~

My daughter has never made vanilla bean cupcakes. Nor have I. We don’t even have a recipe for vanilla bean cupcakes. I’m not exactly sure how the idea for these cupcakes popped into her head last Thursday, but I’m very glad it did.

So, after school that day she stopped at the grocery to pick up vanilla beans, butter, and cream cheese. At home she searched for recipes online and after reviewing a few picked this one (minor changes were made, as noted below). Later that evening she made the vanilla bean cupcakes and the next day after school she and her friend made the cream cheese frosting and frosted the cupcakes. Then we ate them (well, not all of them, but enough). It was a good day.

The cupcakes were light and delicious and yummy. Now I’m looking forward to her next food related text.

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Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

(The original recipe states this makes 16 cupcakes, by filling the cups just over half full. Instead we filled them just under half full and made 24 cupcakes.)

1 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 3/4 cups flour, sifted (original recipe called for cake flour, which we did not have)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup whole milk

~

Heat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean, using the back of a spoon to break up the clumps and to infuse the flavor into the sugar.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the mixer.

To this add the vanilla bean/sugar mixture. Mix all until well combined.

Add butter. Mix on low speed for three minutes.

In a small bowl whisk until smooth the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract.

Add the egg mixture to the flour/butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until combined.

While on low speed, slowly add the milk.

The batter will be thin.

Using paper liners (or silicone liners, if you prefer) in muffin tins, fill each one about 1/2 full (as noted above, you may get anywhere from 16 to 24 cupcakes, depending on how much batter goes into each one).

Bake for 14 minutes. Use a cake tester or wooden toothpick to test if they are done. They won’t be golden brown, so do no go by sight to test if they are done … trust the toothpick! Continue to cook for one minute more, if need be, and then test again. Repeat a time or two if the toothpick comes out wet.

When the toothpick is clean, remove muffin tins from oven and transfer each cupcake to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), at room temperature

8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature

approximately 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (*Note: My daughter states “I don’t measure vanilla extract” and is surprised others do.)

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

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Beat butter and cream cheese in mixer on medium/high speed until well blended.

Add vanilla and continue to mix for a couple minutes.

Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency.

*This recipe was found on the Kraft Brands site, a link to it is here, though they use less vanilla extract in their recipe (and I assume they measure it as well) and is similar to the recipe I’ve posted previously, found here.

vanilla bean cupcake 4

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cream cheese frosting

cream cheese frosting (4)

Last month we celebrated my oldest son’s birthday, and his cake request was brownie ice cream cake. Today we’re celebrating my daughter’s birthday, and she requested chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. (*Note: I “cheated” this time and used a box chocolate cake mix. This is very unlike me, but I was short on time.) Next month will be my youngest son’s cake of choice (I’m guessing he’ll pick something chocolate). And I wonder why I have such a hard time losing weight during the winter months.

Now, I have many recipes for frosting, but I do not have a cream cheese frosting recipe. Until now. I did a bit of online searching and found a couple recipes. Many called for 8 ounces of cream cheese. Others for twice that. Since I had only 8 ounces of cream cheese in the refrigerator, I decided that would be the recipe to try. But the amounts of powdered sugar varied in each of the recipes. Taking what I know about frosting, and knowing what my daughter desired (fluffy frosting), the recipe below is what I ended up with. It’s based on a dozen recipes online, but not exactly like any one of them that I found.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature

8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 – 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

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In mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy, at least 2 minutes.

cream cheese frosting (1)

Add the vanilla and beat well.

cream cheese frosting (2)

Slowly add the powdered sugar, starting with 3 cups, continuing to beat until light and fluffy.

Stir occasionally.

Taste and check the consistency. If too thin or not sweet enough for your taste, add the extra 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Mix on high for at 1 – 2 minutes.

cream cheese frosting (3)

Frosts one double round cake, one 9×13 layer cake, or 24 cupcakes.

cream cheese frosting (6)

cream cheese frosting (7)