We're getting into that time of year where my baking experiments start taking a holiday slant. Notice the recent pumpkin desserts? Besides trying a baking rain dance for my drought-stricken state (come on, rain, start moving in), I'm also testing out potential new recipes for Thanksgiving. This one, we're leap frogging to Christmas.
This was so pretty on Sally's Baking Addiction that I wanted to try it out myself and see if it would be a contender on my holiday dessert party menu. I loved the contrast of the pale creamy cheesecake against the holiday red of the red velvet even though I'm not a cheesecake fan. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as hers though. And I even baked mine in bonafide mini cheesecake pans instead of muffin pans. Since I don't like cheesecake and don't make it, I'm not well versed on baking them properly. I probably overbaked these from a looks perspective (you don't want brown spots or cracks in your cheesecakes) although thankfully, from a taste perspective, they were fine.
A couple of baking notes: the red velvet cookie batter made enough for 2 dozen mini cheesecakes in the pans I used and were even enough to make a thicker red velvet layer than I think I was supposed to have. They puffed up during baking and at first didn't leave much room for the cheesecake topping. Don't bake the red velvet layer longer than the first 8 minutes the recipe calls for. They may be too dry in the time you need to bake the cheesecake topping for. In the first baking, the red velvet layer puffed up but then collapsed in the time it took me to fill all of the cavities. So the inside had a sunken cheesecake middle when you cut it open. If you care mostly about taste, that's not a big deal as you can't tell from the outside, only when you bite into it and by then, would you really care?
This is probably the closest I'll get to making a cheesecake - as a thin layer on top of something else. It's a good bite-sized dessert option for a holiday party. Bonus for me that I'm not likely to overeat it. One was fine for me to taste it. I gave the rest away.
1 and 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (198g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (32g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15ml) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring (liquid or gel)
12 ounces (336g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 Tablespoons (30g) yogurt or sour cream
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (90g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two 12-count muffin pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Make the red velvet cookie layer: toss the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Turn the mixer off and pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in more food coloring if you'd like the dough to be redder. The dough will be sticky.
- Press 1 scant tablespoon of cookie dough into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Bake each batch for 8 minutes to pre-bake the crust before layering the cheesecake on top.
- Make the cheesecake layer: using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high until completely smooth. Add the yogurt and sugar, beating on high until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium until combined. Try not to overbeat, which will cause cheesecake cracks. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Dollop 1 Tablespoon of cheesecake batter on top of the pre-baked cookie, spreading it to make sure it completely covers the cookie.
- Return the mini cheesecakes to the oven and continue to bake for about 20 more minutes, making sure the tops of the cheesecake does not get too brown. The cups are done in the oven when the cheesecake topping no longer jiggles when you shake the pan. Cover the cups with aluminum foil if the tops are getting too brown too soon. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on the counter, then in the refrigerator to set for another 1.5 hours.
- Cookie cups stay fresh covered at room temperature for 12-24 hours, and then must be refrigerated after that for up to 3 more days.