Serve these carrot-spice cheesecakes as a perfecting ending to your Thanksgiving Day feast!
Prep time: 35 to 40 minutes
Bake time: 12 to 14 minutes
Makes: 24 mini-cheesecakes
Prepare the Crust:
24 muffin paper cups (use a solid color or cups with Fall decorations)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs or animal cracker crumbs (ground in a food processor)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sunflower or safflower oil
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Divide the paper cups among two muffin baking pans (each one should hold 12 paper cups). Set aside.
3. In a shallow bowl and using a fork, mix together the crumbs, cinnamon and either butter or oil.
4. When mixture is uniform, using a teaspoon, put some crumb mixture into each paper cup.
5. Using the back of an espresso spoon or small teaspoon, press down, into the crumb mixture.
6. Set the muffin pans with paper cups aside while you prepare cheesecakes.
Prepare the Cheesecakes:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons regular or natural cane (unbleached) sugar
1/4 cup cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pureed cooked carrots (alternatively, use 1/2 cup baby food pureed carrots)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a 4-quart mixing bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a bowl, beat together the above ingredients on high speed until mixture is creamy and smooth.
2. Drop 1 heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture over the crumb mixture in paper cups.
3. Set each muffin pan on its own rack in oven.
4. Bake the cheesecakes for 6 to 7 minutes.
5. After 6 to 7 minutes, invert the muffin pans.
6. Bake the cheesecakes for an additional 6 to 8 minutes or until tops look puffed and slightly crack.
7. After baking the cheesecakes, set them IN MUFFIN PANS on a counter to cool completely.
8. When the cheesecakes have cooled completely, lift them out of the muffin pans. To avoid crushing the still-soft cheesecakes, use both hands to grab the paper cups and lift them out.
9. Carefully set the cheesecakes on a serving platter. Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Ingredients for the Topping:
1 can ready-made whipping cream
24 corn nuts candies
Fresh thyme twigs (cut into twenty-four 1/2-inch twigs)
1 At serving time, place a dollop of whipped cream on top of each cheesecake.
2. Decorate each cheesecake with one corn nut candy and a thyme twig.
3. Serve immediately.
Note: The cheesecakes can be baked up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.
Text and Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real