Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

More pink and red treats for you today!  I wasn’t kidding when I said I liked Valentine’s Day, and I have another treat lined up for next week too, so get excited.  Believe it or not I actually made these months ago for a friend’s bachelorette party, but I figured I would wait to share them until February when pink things were more en vogue.  Plus I kinda, sorta forgot about them – but I don’t know why I let them fall into my Adobe Bridge abyss, they were soo good!  And with the help of a mini cheesecake pan, they were very adorable too :)

As you can see from the picture, I went with a very high crust:cheesecake ratio.  This is partially due to the fact that the graham cracker crust can be my favorite part of a cheesecake, and also because I ended up with a lot of crumbs after I mixed everything together.  The thicker crust also helps give these little delicate treats some stability, and adds a nice crunchy texture.  I don’t often invest in baking pans that serve very limited purposes, mainly because I simply don’t have enough storage space, but I made an exception for this mini cheesecake pan because I fell in love with all the mini cheesecakes on Bakers Royale’s site.  She does such beautiful things layering flavors and decorating them to perfection – she’s inspired me to try more cheesecake recipes and make adorable little creations just like hers.  I’ve already made cookies ‘n cream cheesecakes before, but hers make me want to recreate them ASAP!

Last time I combined strawberries and cream cheese I stuffed the cheese inside the strawberry, now I’ve stacked them on top of each other but one thing stays the same – the flavor combination is classic for a reason.  The sweet strawberry and tart cream cheese play together really well, and with the salty graham cracker crust there’s just no going wrong here.  It’s a simple combination that is just so, so good!  So simple in fact that I didn’t bother taking many photos of these beauties to share with you.  So instead I’m bombarding you with another shot of my Valentine and I from our engagement session last summer.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Mini Strawberry Chesecakes

Ingredients:

for the strawberry cheesecake:
2 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled
3 tbsp + 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp + 1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup boiling water
1 tbsp plain gelatin
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese
¼ tsp salt

for the graham cracker crust:
1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

for the strawberry cheesecake:
- Combine strawberries, 3 tbsp sugar, and 2 tsp lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Push mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds. Set aside.
- Mix gelatin and 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl. Add the boiling water and stir until gelatin completely dissolves, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fit with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream to form stiff peaks. Add the cream cheese, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and salt, and beat on medium-high speed until mixer is smooth and well incorporated, at least 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the gelatin mixture to the cream mixture and gently fold to blend. Add the strawberry puree and continue to slowly fold the mixture until well incorporated.

for the graham cracker crust
- Grease the bottoms and sides of a mini cheesecake pan with non-stick baking spray.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press a ~ ¼” thickness of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each well. Use the bottom of a shot glass or small cup to flatten out each crust.
- Divide the strawberry cheesecake mixture evenly among the cheesecake wells and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Release from the mini cheesecake pan and garnish with whipped cream and a strawberry slice if desired.