Bob’s work Holiday Party was earlier this month, and everyone was encouraged to bring a snack or dessert. This party fell on the same weekend as our Holiday Open House, so I was already in full dessert mode – what’s one more?! I thought for a while about what to make, then remembered my mini-cheesecake pans. It’s rare that I get the opportunity to use them, and this seemed like the perfect event for a bite-sized, easy-to-grab dessert. One of my favorite cheesecakes is the Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake, so I decided to adapt the recipe to a mini-version. I wasn’t sure how this would work, but they turned out great! They were a big hit at the party, and I had many requests for the recipe. They are actually pretty simple to make, but certainly don’t look simple.
I realize that very few people actually own a mini-cheesecake pan. A friend of mine tried the Pumpkin Spice Magic Bar Mini’s in a muffin pan and she had a very difficult time getting them out of the pan – in fact they fell apart. I can see why this happened considering the cheesecake pan allows you to push the removable bottom up to remove the cheesecake from the pan without disrupting the crust. If you would like to make this recipe and don’t have a mini-cheesecake pan, go ahead and use a muffin tin, but make sure you use paper liners. You can always remove them before you top with ganache - just make sure you coat them with nonstick cooking spray!
Bailey’s Irish Cream Mini-Cheesecakes
Yield: 24 mini-cakes (make a half recipe if just using 1 mini-cheesecake pan, which yields 12)
Ingredients: For the crust: 16 whole Oreos, finely ground in food processor 3 tablespoons melted butter
For the filling: 16 ounces (2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 1/3 cups sour cream 3 Tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
For the ganache glaze: 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. 1. Combine the ground Oreos and melted butter into a bowl until well combined. Spoon into 24 mini cheesecake cups. Press into the bottom of each cup so the crust is flat. If you have a small cup or container small enough, that works well. Partially bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.
2. In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in sour cream, Bailey's, and vanilla.
3. Pour or spoon batter into cheesecake pan cups to fill to a little less than half of the cup. Then add the melted chocolate to the rest of the batter. Fill the cups to about 3/4 full.
4. Bake for 25-28 minutes until cheesecake is cooked through. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
5. Once the cheesecakes have cooled, loosen the edges with a plastic knife and remove them from the pan by pushing up on the removable bottoms. Arrange them on a piece of waxed paper and make the glaze.
6. To make the ganache glaze, put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and melt above simmering water (or use microwave to melt). The chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.
7. Pour the glaze over the cheesecakes and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a metal icing spatula. Don't worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cheesecakes, it actually makes for a pretty presentation. Alternatively, you could leave the cheesecakes in the pan and pour the glaze on top, let set (best to put in fridge), then run a plastic knife around to loosen, lift the cakes out, and have a nice ganache layer on top with no drips!
8. Refrigerate cheesecakes until ready to serve. If keeping overnight or longer, wait until glaze sets, then cover with foil.