Saturday, February 11, 2012

Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

This is one delicious dessert!  I made it for my recent romantic at-home date & really had to stop myself from eating them all myself.  Joe was fairly surprised I allowed him to have so many!  I adapted this recipe from one I found on that most amazing of websites, Pinterest.  My version is slightly lower in fat & significantly lower in sugar.  I used Neufchatel cheese in place of half of the cream cheese.  Neufchatel cheese is 1/3 lower in fat than cream cheese and available at most grocery stores, even Aldi.  I replaced 2/3 of the sugar in the cheesecake with my favorite natural sweetener, stevia. I buy pure powdered organic stevia in a 1oz container from Trader Joe’s for $9.99.  A little stevia goes a loooooong way as it’s extremely strong stuff.  This recipe is time consuming but so worth it because it tastes SO GOOD!

Raspberry Cheesecake Bites
makes: 32

For the crust:

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

For the raspberry swirl:
6 oz. fresh raspberries

2 tbsp. sugar

For the filling:

32oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
(I used 16oz of Neufchatel cheese and 16oz of cream cheese)
½ cup sugar & 1 teaspoon pure stevia OR 1½ cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners or skip the paper & grease with lots of butter.  I did both as you can see in the photo. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.  Stir together with a fork until well blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Using a small, round drinking cup works well for pressing the crust down.  Bake until just set about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the raspberry puree, combine the raspberries and sugar in a blender or food processor.  My baby food blender worked great & was the perfect size. Process until smooth then pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.
To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy.  Blend in the sugar or sugar/stevia and mix until smooth.  Mix in the salt and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

To assemble, spoon 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner.  Dot a ½ teaspoon of the raspberry puree in a few dots over the cheesecake filling.  Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer to lightly swirl and create a marbled effect.

Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.   Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.  I ate one as soon as it cooled and it was tasty but not amazing.  When I tried a cooled one later it was WONDERFUL! Definitely exercise self control and DO NOT eat any until they are cool.

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