Little known fact – I love candy canes. The sight of candy canes in the stores fills me with holiday cheer and excitement for tree decorating and all things peppermint – peppermint mocha lattes, peppermint bark, peppermint pinwheel cookies – and now Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites from the Capture the Coast cookbook from the Junior League of Tampa.
I admit I was a little intimidated by the recipe. I’ve never been much of a baker when it comes to cheesecake – maybe I lack the patience. But this recipe was too tempting to pass up.
I started with the chocolate graham cracker crust. First, I crushed the crackers in my Cuisinart. Then I mixed the crumbs, sugar and melted butter together in a separate bowl. I sprayed a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and went to work. There is enough crumb mixture to fill a 24-count muffin pan. Make sure the crumb mixture is firmly pressed into each muffin form. You should not have any leftover crumb mixture. Pop the pan into the oven for 5-6 minutes.
For the filling, I went back to my Cuisinart and mixed the ingredients as directed. Then I started filling the prepared crusts. I used a measuring cup for ease of pouring, but if you’re more graceful than I, you can easily pour the filling directly from your bowl.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Then remove the mini cakes and cool directly on the wire rack.
Once they’ve cooled down, you’re ready to add the finishing touches – chocolate sprinkles and peppermint candies. I generously spread the chocolate sprinkles on all of the mini cakes. Then I added the crushed peppermint candies. The recipe also has an option to add whipped topping. As these treats were being transported, I opted not to use whipped topping.
I made 3 batches of this recipe and here is what I learned.
- The recipe says to use a “heaping teaspoon” of the crumb mixture. Do this! There should be no crumb mixture left after you’ve made your 24 mini cakes.
- After the mini cakes have cooked, let them sit and cool for at least 30 minutes. I found that the longer I let them cool the nicer they held their shape once I took them out of the pan.
- I slid a knife around the edges of the mini cakes and used a spoon to take them out of the pan.
- If some of the crust falls off, do not be alarmed.
- Once you’ve added the sprinkles and candies, store them in the fridge to keep them fresh.
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites
8 chocolate graham cracker rectangles, crushed (1/3 package)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
6 peppermint candies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
½ cup whipped topping (optional)
6 peppermint candies, crushed
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar and the butter in a bowl. Press a heaping teaspoon of the crumb mixture in the bottom of each miniature muffin cup coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes.
Process 6 candies, the cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, the flour, egg and sour cream in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Pour in the prepared crusts. Bake for 15 minutes or until small cracks form on the tops. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely. Top each cheesecake with the chocolate sprinkles and crushed candies.