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February 23, 2011

Mini Ginger Almond Cheesecakes

mini ginger almond cheesecakes

"I've never had almond cheesecake before!" my neighbor exclaimed after she stuffed her THIRD mini ginger almond cheesecake into her mouth. "Same here," I muttered through my mouth full of cheesecake. We were standing around a plate of mini ginger almond cheesecakes on my kitchen island as if we were two college students huddled over a bong. You can be rest assured, we were just making sure to test each and every cheesecake for quality assurance! One bite after the next, I fell in love with the whipped cream & cream cheese ALCHEMY. Oh the fluffiness! The creaminess! And that thick spicy salty gingersnap crust? It slayed me. How many minis add up to an actual slice of cheesecake? Who cares!?

So...another faux cheesecake recipe that prevents me from making an official cheesecake! I've never made a real cheesecake and I kind of have no desire to when I find simple recipes like this one. I love the cream cheese aspect of cheesecakes....how it's subtly savory and a little thick. But the thought of eating a whole slice of cheesecake makes my stomach turn. It's just too rich and dense for my bones. I like creamy desserts that are light & fluffy with a little bit of savory crunch, and these little minis do just the trick! Now you'll have to excuse me. I have one last mini cheesecake calling my name......

And we're off!

Put your cupcake liners in your muffin tin.

cupcake lining

Pulse your gingersnaps with sugar in the food processor.

sugar & graham

Add the butter!  PULSE

hello butter

Tada! You have your gingersnap crust!

prepared to be smashed

Press the crumbs into each of the cupcake liners.

smooshing

And put the muffin tin in the oven to bake! Done!

off to bake

Start whipping up your cream cheese.

block of cream cheese

Add the confectioner's sugar & almond extract. WHIP it real good.

hello powdered sugar & almond extract

Now make your whipped cream.

making whipped cream

Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

folding

And fill the creamy dreamy mixture into your cooled crusts.

ready to fill

Spread the tops with a small off-set spatula and pop the tin into the fridge to set.

smoothing

When you're ready to serve, add crystallized ginger to the top!

hello ginger!

Unwrap a cheesecake....

mini ginger almond cheesecakes

And forget about calories. Cuz they're mini!

Mini Ginger Almond Cheesecakes

Makes 10

(recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Food Magazine)

  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (from about 30 cookies)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon course salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted!)
  • 1 package cream cheese (8oz.) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 10 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners. In a food processor, pulse together the gingersnaps and granulated sugar. Now add the salt & butter and pulse until combined. Divide crumb mixture among cupcake liners, firmly pressing into bottoms and up the sides. Baked until crusts are browned and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely in a pan on a wire wrack at room temperature.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner's sugar and almond extract and beat until smooth. In another medium bowl, with clean beaters, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture 1/3 at a time until completed. Divide mixture among the cooled crusts and refrigerate until set, 1 hour or up to overnight. To serve, top with chopped crystallized ginger.

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