Just a few days ago, I attended Friendsgiving with some of my friends. We cooked an elaborate homemade meal with lots of food and we were all assigned different parts of the meal to prepare. A small group of people prepared appetizers, a small group prepared sides, a small group prepared the main meal, and a small group prepared desserts. I, with one other person, worked on making dessert. We opted for something maple based, since we both like maple and it's also a nice fall flavor that's perfect for Friendsgiving. Thus enters the mini maple cheesecakes. In small, person-sized portions and much easier to make than a whole cheesecake, these mini maple cheesecakes are perfect for parties, especially during the Thanksgiving season. 


We originally planned to make a maple cheesecake with apple topping, but after the apple topping went wrong, we slightly modified the original recipe. The one that we used was from Sugar and Soul (the recipe is here), but I'm going to list the modified recipe. You definitely need to allow quite a bit of time in order to make this recipe, especially if you're making it for a party. Expect to spend about 2 hours of prep time and about 3-6 hours of refrigeration - totaling about 5-8 hours before serving. This recipe makes 24 mini cheesecakes, about the size of cupcakes. 

Ingredients


Crust:
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp melted butter

Filling:
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
3 8-oz packages of cream cheese - softened to room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup condensed milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Topping (optional):
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Maple syrup (for garnish)


Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Line two cupcake pans with aluminum foil cupcake liners.
  3. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar in a medium bowl. After thoroughly mixing, add in the melted butter and stir until evenly coated. This will be the crust.
  4. Use a small spoon and scoop the mix for the crust into the cupcake pans. Use the spoon to pack the crust tightly together so the graham cracker crumbs stick together. 
  5. Place the cupcake pans with the crust in them in the freezer. 
  6. While the crust is in the freezer, you can begin to work on the cheesecake filling.
  7. Add 1 1/4 cups of pure maple syrup into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir occasionally and heat for about 5 minutes. After that, remove from heat and let it cool until it reaches room temperature.
  8. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and brown sugar until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  9. Slowly add in the cooled maple syrup and mix at low speed.
  10. While the mixer is going, slowly add in the eggs. Mix at low speed until the ingredients are combined.
  11. Remove the cupcake pans from the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling into the cupcake pans until the pans are about 7/8 full, or a little under completely full. Note that the cheesecake is likely going to rise in the oven, but by the time that it cools, it will return to the height of however full the pans were when the batter was raw. Keep this in mind while filling the pans.
  12. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes or until the top has lost its sheen.
  13. Allow the cheesecakes to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Allow to refrigerate for about 3-6 hours. The refrigeration time is relatively flexible, but the cheesecake tastes best after this amount of refrigeration time.
  14. While the cheesecakes are refrigerating, you can begin making the topping. Combine all of the dry ingredients of the topping (everything except for the maple syrup) in a small bowl. 
  15. Once you're ready to serve the cheesecakes, sprinkle on the powder topping and then drizzle the cheesecake with maple syrup.
And that's a wrap for the mini-maple cheesecakes. It helps in terms of presentation if you remove the aluminum foil cupcake liners and then place them on individual plates before adding the topping. If you do end up making these mini-maple cheesecakes, I would love if you sent a picture to me - let's chat about it on Twitter! If not, you can just enjoy the pictures of the delicious cheesecake, because pictures speak louder than words. Have a happy Thanksgiving and eat all the food. Be thankful for everything that you have and enjoy this holiday to its fullest -- remember that Christmas isn't until next month, so cherish Thanksgiving while it lasts instead of skipping over to Christmas. 

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