I am very close to my tipping point for holiday wining and dining. Close but….not QUITE there yet.
With the end of 2014 right around the corner, I thought I’d go for broke with my last post of the year. Combining my most favorite December coffee drink: Starbucks Eggnog Latte with one of my most favorite desserts: cheesecake. But rather than create one massive cheesecake, I decided to downsize with this adorable mini cheesecake version instead. It also gave me the perfect excuse to try out my new Norpro Mini-Cheesecake pan, a gift from a fabulous co-worker:
And then adding some rich and sweet eggnog to the cheesecake layer:
Can we pause for a moment to praise the almighty workhorse in my kitchen that is my KitchenAid Stand Mixer? Mine is pushing about 25 years now. It has taken a licking and keeps on beating (and kneading, whipping, stirring, etc.)
Ahhhh….ok now back to the cheesecake! What latte would be complete without some sweet whipped cream topping (remember this is our last hurrah so no cutting calories here). I chose to take the whipped topping one step further and add even more eggnog. The final cheesecakes get a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg and a sprinkle of some festive, pearly sprinkles (or “jimmies” if you’re from Boston).
If you are lacking in the “mini cheesecake pan” department, never fear. These can be baked in lined muffin tins that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. You can also easily make a gluten-free version of this cheesecake by substituting gluten-free chocolate wafers for the crust and sweet rice flour for the batter. And finally, if you get the urge to make these later in the year and fresh eggnog is not available, you can just substitute heavy cream in the batter and add a little eggnog syrup (available at Amazon.com) to taste.
I can’t think of any more beautiful or delicious way to end 2014. I’ll be back on New Years Eve with a look at this past year. Until then, eat, drink and be merry my friends!
Mini Eggnog Latte Cheesecakes
1 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies
3 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1/2 TBS granulated sugar
2-3 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
12 oz. Philadelphia Brand® cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup eggnog (see Note 1>)
1 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBS granulated sugar
2 TBS eggnog
Freshly grated nutmeg
White, pearly sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a mini cheesecake pan using non-stick spray OR insert cupcake liners into a cupcake pan and spray.
- In a small food processor (or by hand), combine the ingredients for the crust. Place a heaping tablespoon into each cup, lightly pressing down using a spice jar wrapped in plastic wrap (see Note 2>) Bake for 5 minutes.
- For cheesecake filling, in a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together sugar and cream cheese. Add eggnog, flour, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Mix at low-medium speed just until blended (do not over mix). Scrape down sides of bowl then add egg and beat only until combined. Spoon filling into cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until centers are slightly jiggly. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour. Note that the centers of the cheesecakes will deflate while cooling. Do not worry! The whipped cream will cover any sunken parts or other imperfections! Transfer to a refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, prepare whipped topping. Chill a mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes then remove. Beat together whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add eggnog and beat just until combined. Unmold cheesecakes (if using the mini cheesecake pan). Spoon or pipe whipped cream onto the top of each cheesecake. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and sprinkles and serve.
- Yields: 12 mini cheesecakes
Note 1> If eggnog is not available, substitute 1 cup of heavy cream and flavor it with some eggnog syrup (available online)