I’ve never tasted, seen nor heard of cheesecake as a child. In fact, when I first heard of cheesecake I was repulsed. The idea of cheese and cake amalgamated into one being is far from appetizing. I had imagined some sort of sharp, salty and, perhaps, orange cheese thrown into a sweet white cake batter, then baked into something undesirable. But people went on and on praising this cheesy concoction and listing its glorious attributes all while I vowed to never cross paths with a cheesecake. Until one day, I found a cheesecake recipe in a magazine which, to my surprise, seemed palatable. Not only was the picture breathtaking but the recipe called for cream cheese. Cream cheese is not salty, not sharp and, definitely, not orange. I tried the recipe from the magazine and never stopped baking cheesecake ever since. I’ve sort of started a cheesecake obsession that leads me to google cheesecake recipes from time to time and the search results are far from disappointing. I stumbled on the most beautiful picture of cheesecake bars and couldn’t resist making them. I decided to bake it in cupcake form which is a great way to bring along to a gathering or hide in the back of your fridge for a quick midnight snack. Yum!
Although these were delightful, all my taste testers commented that they prefer the creamier consistency of the Mascarpone Cheesecake over the more solid consistency of this recipe. The crust was a big hit, they all loved the incorporation of the hazelnut which adds flavor and texture to the traditional crust. For me, I didn’t care much for the sour cream, perhaps next time I’ll substitute it with heavy cream or something of the sort. All in all, it’s a great recipe and who can resist a cute cheesecake cupcake?
I found these gorgeous hazelnuts in my pantry so I decided to make a hazelnut crust. The nuts add a crunchy dimension to the crust to contrast the creaminess of the filling.
Place the hazelnut in a baking sheet or a pan.
Toast the nuts in the oven at 400° F for 8 minutes or until fragrant and light brown.
You’ll also notice the skin is loose.
To remove the skin, rub the nuts in a towel to remove loose skin. This took such a long time that I gave up at the end. Some had really loose skin so it was easy to remove but I had to apply more effort on others. It was rather laborsome and probably the hardest step in the entire recipe. Next time I’ll try to find peeled hazelnut.
Place the nuts, graham crackers (I used tea biscuits because that’s all I had) and brown sugar in the bowl of your food processor
Pulse until finely ground but has a crunchy but you can still feel the hazelnut.
Melt the butter completely
Add to the crust mixture and pulse until the crumbs are moist and come together
Divide it between the cups about 1-2 tablespoons each. I did only 1 tablespoon each and had some left-over crust.
For the filling, you must make sure that the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature. This makes beating easier and prevents cracks and over browning.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and soft.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. Make sure it disappears in the batter before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Now mix in the sour cream and take care not to over beat.
Divide the filling between the cups. I filled them 3/4 of the way and had enough filling to make 24 cheesecakes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 15 minutes or until it’s set but not too firm. You’ll notice that the filling will rise to the top of the cup but it will sink once it cools.
This is how it looks after it cooled down, and it’s not that yellow. The lighting was not cooperating with me.
Let it cool for a while, then start preparing the gnache.
Basically, chocolate ganache consists of baking chocolate and heavy cream. Semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate is used here but you may use any type of chocolate you desire. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate; whatever makes your mouth drool. No sugar is usually added to chocolate ganache but I like to add a tablespoon or two of light corn syrup because it adds a nice shine once it’s cool.
Place heavy cream and butter in a heavy saucepan and bring to heat but don’t let it come to a boil.
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. I usually just break it with my hands.
Pour the heavy cream-butter mixture over and start whisking.
It’ll look runny and like you have too much liquid for the chocolate but it’s okay. It will reach the right consistency as you continue mixing.
This is how it looks midway through mixing.
When you reach the right consistency mix in the corn syrup. It will be shiny and beautiful.
Now cover the cheesecake cupcakes with the chocolate ganche. Chill the cheesecake for 6-8 hours.
Or you can enjoy one with no chocolate.
Again, they’re not this yellow. I just had terrible lighting.
Ah, remember to remove the paper before eating. It’s not edible.
Makes: 24 cupcakes
Adapted from Bakerlla
1 cup hazelnut, toasted
1 cup ground graham crackers or cookies
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temprature
1 cup sour cream
8 oz Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1 Cup heavy cream
4 Tablespoons butter
1-2 Tablespoon light corn syrup, optional
- Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper cups. Leave aside.
- Preheat oven to 350° F and place rack in the middle.
- Place ingredients of crust in the food processor and mix well. Place 1-2 tablespoons of crust mix in each cup and press firmly to form crust.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar.
- Add eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition and scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
- Add sour cream and mix just enough to incorporate.
- Divide batter between each cup and bake for 15-20 or until just set but not too firm.
- Allow cheesecake to cool.
- Prepare ganache: Heat heavy cream and butter in a heavy saucepan.
- Place chocolate piece in a heat proof bowl. Pour hot cream and butter over chocolate and stir until mixture thickens. Add corn syrup and mix well.
- Pour chocolate ganache over cooled cheesecake.
- Chill for 6-8 hours and serve cold.