I don't bake. I'm talkin'...never! First, because I don't have much of a sweet-tooth but secondly, because I'm awful at it. It forces me to measure...which I'm not precise with while cooking. My roommate, Annie, can bake so she took me on as her pupil and we conquered our first recipe together. Of course, this is not my own recipe since the last thing I need to be doing is making up baking recipes. I found this in a recent issue of Cuisine at Home. Some due to accident and some due to person preference it toppings, it's adjusted just a bit. This is the perfect bite-sized end to your Valentine's dinner at home.
-2 sleeves graham crackers, 18 crackers
-1 Tbsp sugar
-1 stick melted butter melted + 2 Tbsp not melted
-12 ounces bittersweet bar chocolate, broken into pieces
-2 tsp. instant espresso powder (not just ground coffee)
-1 block (8-ounce) cream cheese
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup heavy cream
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-jarred caramel sauce (I found butterscotch caramel sauce)
-vanilla glaze from the bottle...yep that's how fancy we got
-mini cupcake pan
First, preheat oven to 325 degrees. To make the crust, put all of the graham crackers, 1 Tbsp sugar and a pinch of salt into a food processor and process until crumbs. Next, add 1 stick of melted butter (melt in the microwave) slowly and blend until the crumbs are evenly coated with butter.
Using a small baking sheet, place about 1-2 Tbsp of the graham crack crust into each cup (filling about half the cup). Press down with the back of a spoon. Bake at 325 for 5 minutes.
While the crusts are baking and then cooling (outside the oven) make the chocolate cheesecake mixture. Using a double boiler (smaller, shallower pan sitting on top a larger pot with hot water) melt the 12 oz of chocolate pieces, 2 tsp instant espresso powder and 2 Tbsp butter over low heat heat.
Next, add the 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tsp vanilla extract. In the recipe from Cuisine at Home it says to whip the cream prior to adding...we didn't do that (lapse of memory) and they still turned out well.
Spoon about 2-3 Tbsp of the chocolate mixture on top of each graham cracker crust. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 325. After the timer goes off, turn off the oven with the mini cheesecakes inside for another 5 minutes. Pull out of the oven and cool before using any of the optional toppings
Be creative with your toppings. Melted chocolate? yum. Love white chocolate? Do it. Any crushed nuts will work.