Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baby cheesecakes

I feel like a hypocrite writing about cheesecake when I've told you I dislike cheese.. But truth be told, I really don't mind cheese when the flavor is masked by sugar (because I have an insane sweet tooth), so I do love cheesecake.  That said, the last time I was at the Cheesecake Factory I looked at the calorie/fat counts they now include with the menu, and those made me dislike this dessert!  So I decided to mess with a normal cheesecake recipe to make it low-cal, and I was pleased with the results.
Ingredients (makes 10 baby cheesecakes):
-About 5 small biscotti cookies (for crust)
-Approx 1 tbsp almond milk (for crust)
-3 oz non-fat vanilla greek yogurt
-3 oz low-fat ricotta cheese
-4 oz light cream cheese
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1.5 tbsp granulated sugar (I used baking Splenda)
-1 tbsp flour
-1 tsp applesauce
-1 tsp cornstarch
-1 egg plus 2 egg whites
I started with the crust. I would have used graham crackers, but I didn't have any in the pantry and I figured almond biscotti cookies would work too (and they did)!
I think I put about 5 biscotti in the food processor to get the mix looking like this, and I dribbled almond milk into the machine as the cookies gelled up to get a mix with the texture above. You want enough mix to cover the bottoms of cupcake tins like this:
Next time I make this recipe, I've decided that I'll cut a couple of the tins (to make 10 instead of 12) because I felt like my crust-to-cake ratio was a little off this time (they were still good, but it was about 1/3 crust, 2/3 cake and I was hoping for 1/4 crust, 3/4 cake). Once my cupcake tray looked like the above image, I put it in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes to bake the crusts a bit.
While my crusts baked, I made the cheesecake filling.  I cleaned the crust crumbs from the food processor, then used it to blend the cream cheese, ricotta, and yogurt together.  Once these were well mixed, I added in all the other ingredients and blended one more time.

I spooned the filling into the crusts and put the tray back in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. And the baby cakes puffed up like this!
Finally, the obligatory taste test (with light whipped cream on top to offset my less-than-ideal filling-to-crust ratio). All in all, very good- I wouldn't change any of the filling ingredients! I'll just make a little less crust next time and do 10 cakes instead of 12 so each crust gets a little more filling on top!


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