Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Bites


Featured Ingredient: Almonds

Woo hoo, I finally turned in the manuscript for my cookbook on Friday. After 4 1/2 months of slaving away in the kitchen, I think I’ve got a pretty good batch of muffin tin inspired recipes. I developed the recipe for these cheesecake bites molded in mini muffin cups with the book in mind, but they didn’t quite fit into any of the chapters. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t truly wonderful.

I would think you could serve these at a holiday party and receive much approbation. The almond base adds a really nice textural contrast to the cream cheese topping. It doesn’t hurt that almonds rock in the nutritional department, thanks to impressive amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and the antioxidant vitamin E. Hemp seeds offer an extra dose of supercharged fats.

You could flavor the chocolate with some chili powder, peppermint extract, coffee extract, or warming spices like cinnamon. The chocolate could even be omitted and just serve as mini cheesecakes. I would not use a darker sugar like palm for the cheesecake topping as you want it to be nice and white for presentation purposes. If not using flexible silicon muffin cups, it’s probably best to use paper liners for these.

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites















1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 1/3 cup quick cook oats (not instant)
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1/3 cup hemp hearts (seeds), such as Manitoba Harvest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup lightly colored natural cane sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Fleur de Sel (optional)

In a dry skillet, toast almonds over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. Let almonds cool and then add to a bowl of a food processor along with oats, sugar, hemp hearts, salt, and butter. Process until mixture adheres together. Divide mixture among 24 greased or paper lined mini muffin cups, pressing down to help stick together. The crust should come about half-way up the muffin cups.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, sour cream and vanilla until just mixed in. Divide cream cheese mixture among muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes, or until topping is set. Let cool before unmolding and then cool completely on a wire rack. Place cheesecakes in the freezer and freeze until solid.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of lightly simmering water, stirring often. Or microwave chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 20 to 30 second increments, stirring after each interval until chocolate is melted. One at a time, dip cheesecakes into the melted chocolate and use two forks to turn until fully coated. Let the excess drip off and place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle each with a few grains of Fleur de sel and then place baking sheet in the refrigerator to set chocolate, about 1 hour.

2 comments:

  1. These were amazing. Question, though. How did you put them in the freezer? I had popped mine out of the pan for cooling from the oven, but then was unsure how to best freeze. Did you put them back in the pan? I found the cakes to be quite soft and I needed to have them covered so as not to pick up freezer smells. I ended up using a cheesecake spring form pan for the tall sides and I could fit the whole pan in a ziploc.

    Also, did you have a problem of the chocolate cooling too much as you were trying to dip? I've never tried to dip things like that, but I had to keep putting the chocolate back in the microwave to keep it warm enough after I kept putting frozen cakes in it. The microwave did work very well at those small time intervals and I never burned the chocolate.

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  2. I'm so glad you liked this recipe. For the freezing part I just placed the chocolate dipped cheesecakes on Silpat lined baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the freezer.
    I did not have a problem with the chocolate hardening, but that can definitely happen so the microwave trick is a really good idea.

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