This is one of my Mom’s best recipes. It is great for parties and they always get eaten quickly. I love them because they are nut free. Usually at parties or at restaurants I don’t take chances with desserts because of my allergies. Many places these days don’t make their own desserts on site, or they will not guarantee anything to be nut-free. Jonathan and I were in a restaurant about a year ago and they turned us away because the chef did not want to take any chances. Currently we have found a few great restaurants that will accommodate my allergies. However, making my own desserts is the only way to be 100% sure there is no cross contamination.
The occasion for these mini cheesecakes is my Grandma’s birthday dinner that we are having tonight at the house. Mom is going to buy a cake as well, but we like to have lots of dessert options. The cheesecake tarts have a strawberry on top for garnish, but strawberries were on sale this week, so there will be lots of strawberries on the side. Fresh berries on the side always make the cheesecake part appear healthier.
For the crust I would recommend trying to find the Christie brand Nilla wafers. Sometimes they are tricky to find and I couldn’t find them yesterday. So I today I made my own graham cracker crust. I still prefer the Nilla wafer crust, but my crust turned out rather well, so I am pleased with it.
2 cups cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 package Nilla (vanilla wafer cookies)
*These are a great instant crust, but if you can’t find them in the grocery store, you can make your own graham cracker crust.
1 cup graham crackers
2 tbsp melted butter
¼ cup sugar
- Start by lining the cupcake pan with two paper wrappers or one foil wrapper.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In the Cuisinart food processor blend graham crackers and sugar, until the graham crackers are crumbly.
- Add in melted butter and pulse again in the food processor.
- Add one spoonful of graham cracker mixture to the bottom of the cupcake tray. Press down with fingers or with the back of the spoon.
- Bake crust at 325 F for 8-10 minutes, until the crust has set.
- In you Cuisinart food processor blend cream cheese and sugar. Blend until the cream cheese begins to soften.
- Add in vanilla extract and eggs.
- Blend until nice creamy consistency.
- Fill the cupcake pan until ¾ full.
- Bake at 350 F for 11 minutes. (Do not over bake or it will be dry.)
- Let cool and then garnish with fresh fruit or jams. Place in the refrigerator until it is time to serve the cheesecakes.