Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blueberry lemon cheesecake bites

Living in my new dorm-style apartment in grad school reminds me a lot of the college days, but I actually don't mind that. There are quite a few building events every week (usually involving free food) and it's a great way to meet new people in a new environment.

Last night, they had another dorm-wide event. Several people volunteered to throw mini-parties in their apartments and the rest of the building went from room-to-room and eating the food the gracious hosts made. Of course, as soon as I heard of this opportunity to bake and serve desserts, I signed my room up to host.

For this event, I decided to make cheesecake for the first time. My roommate and I still had tons of blueberries leftover from apple picking, and she loves cheesecake, so I settled on a blueberry lemon cheesecake recipe. The existing recipe I followed prepared the cheesecake as bars, but since I was baking for hoards of people, I figured that mini-cheesecake cups would be easier to serve.

Converting from bars to mini-bites wasn't too difficult, although I did get the ratio of crust to filling wrong (I ended up with a lot more crust than filling, but I've adjusted the recipe accordingly below). The crust was first prepared from graham cracker crumbs that were pressed at the bottom of mini-cupcake liners and then baked for about 5 minutes. The filling was likewise very easy to make - cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and some lemon zest and juice. The blueberries were folded in at the end and the filling was scooped on top of the crust and baked for another half hour or so.

I experimented with two different types of liners - the regular liners that needed to be baked in mini-cupcake tins and the foil liners that could stand on their own and be baked on flat cookie sheets. Consistency and taste-wise, they came out the same. The foil ones were wider at the bottom (or the spread out wider), so those cheesecake bites ended up flatter and more shallow than the regular lined ones. Didn't make a huge difference - they were both good!

I served the cheesecake bites alongside s'mores (I did have quite a few leftover graham crackers) and juice boxes. Overall, people seemed to really enjoy it, and I had fun meeting new fellow students!

Blueberry lemon cheesecake bites (makes about 5 dozen)
(Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)

Graham cracker crust:
  • 8 full-sheets of graham crackers
  • 4 Tbsp of unsalted butter (melted)
  • ~2 Tbsp (45 g)  of white sugar
Cheesecake filling:
  • 16 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup (67 g) of white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup (250 g) blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Crush the crackers to a fine crumb and stir in the melted butter and white sugar. 
  2. Press about 1½ tsp of the crumb mixture into the bottoms of mini-cupcake liners. Bake crust in oven for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Mix cream cheese in stand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Mix in egg, white sugar, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla extract until completely combined. Fold in blueberries. 
  4. Fill each cupcake liner with 1½ tsp of filling. Spread the filling so it completely covers the crust. 
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Let the cheesecakes cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and then chill in the fridge for 3 hours (or more) before serving. 
  6. Enjoy!

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