Mini cappuccino cheesecakes
A dreamy trio of coffee, cheese and chocolate create a decadent medley in these elegant mini-desserts.
OK, folks, here it is. The dessert you’ve been waiting for. This dessert is guaranteed to wow the crowds and teach you a few fabulous garnishing tricks while you’re at it. Depending on the type of meal or party where these will be served, you can create chocolate music notes, hearts, squiggles or names written in chocolate to honor a birthday or anniversary celebrant.
And another thing – this recipe works beautifully for the lactose-intolerant crowd using Tofutti brand cream cheese and non-dairy whipping cream. Whipping the egg whites gives the cake extra airiness, so your guests won’t notice it’s not the real thing.
Don’t be scared off by the lengthy directions – give this one a try when you have plenty of time, and you’ll have no regrets – just really appreciative friends.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 8-ounce containers cream cheese (or Tofutti cream cheese)
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- squirt of fresh lemon juice (1-2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 dozen tall muffin liners
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
- 1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur (or hot water)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 packages low fat graham crackers (16 full cracker sheets)
- 1 cup butter or Earth Balance, melted
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 16 ounces whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- chocolate syrup
- semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips or squares
For coffee glaze:
Preheat oven to 335° F. Prepare baking pan with tall muffin liners.
Crush crackers in food processor until fine. Add powdered sugar, cocoa and butter and mix well.
Put 2 tablespoons crumb mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Press down on the crumbs in each liner to create a firm mini crust (a drinking glass works great).
Beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Add ½ cup sugar and continue whipping until whites look glossy and firm.
In separate bowl, beat cream cheese, yolks, remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until blended. You can use an electric beater, an immersion blender, or a fork and some good old elbow grease.
Gently fold mixtures together. Separate half of the mixture into a smaller bowl.
In another small bowl, mix Kahlua, sugar, flour and coffee granules until there are no lumps (if there are stubborn little lumps, pour the coffee mixture through a small sifter). Add to one of the bowls of cheesecake batter and mix well.
Use an ice cream scooper to put a scant scoop of plain cheesecake batter into each muffin liner. Repeat with coffee-flavored cheesecake batter.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops have puffed up nicely. Turn off oven and leave door partially open for 10-15 minutes. Remove cakes, cool completely, then chill in refrigerator overnight or for several hours.
TWO-TONE WHIPPED CREAM GARNISH:
Whip cream until stiff. Remove half of the whipped cream and set aside.
Add cocoa and sugar slowly to remaining cream and whip briefly until fully incorporated (or mix a spoonful of whipped cream into the cocoa and sugar to create a smooth paste, then add to the rest of the cream.)
Gently scoop the plain whipped cream, followed by the chocolate whipped cream, into a large Ziploc bag, trying to line each side of the bag with one flavor of cream. Press out any extra air and seal tightly. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Melt chocolate using double boiler. Pour into sandwich-size Ziploc bag and seal well. Snip a tiny end off of one corner. Pipe any shape you desire onto a piece of foil or parchment paper, and then refrigerate or freeze for a half hour to harden.
Depending on the type of meal or party where these will be served, you can create chocolate music notes, hearts, squiggles or names written in chocolate to honor a birthday or anniversary celebrant. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)
ASSEMBLY AND PLATING:
To serve, carefully remove paper liners from cheesecake. Drizzle individual plates with chocolate syrup before plating, or place mini cheesecakes together onto a serving platter.
Snip small corner of cream-filled Ziploc bag. Use as a piping bag to squeeze a swirl of cream onto each cheesecake. If you cut an M-shaped cut, you’ll get a cool shaped cream swirl.
Gently remove chocolate garnishes from foil or parchment and place on top of whipped cream. Work quickly to avoid handling chocolate for too long or it will melt in your hands.