For Valentines Day, I thought I'd be creative (and the awesome person at work, of course), and make some mini red velvet cheesecakes. The original recipe (which you can find here), was for a regular muffin pan size, but I thought I'd make them cuter by using a mini-muffin pan. The result was a 2-bite major hit with the co-workers. I myself am not a cheesecake person, so I can't tell you exactly how they turned out, but judging by the reaction, and the comment of one co-worker that they rivaled one of the Christmas goodies that people drool while thinking about all year long, I'd say they turned out pretty good. I didn't really make a whole lot of changes to this recipe, since I wasn't going to be able to taste it myself to know if it worked or not. I did change the crust a bit, and I added slightly more cocoa powder, but that's about it.
Here's my version:
48 Nilla Wafers, crushed
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 1/2 pkgs (20oz total) softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350º. Line a muffin pan with liners, you can do mini or regular size.
In a small bowl, mix cookies, butter and cocoa until well combined. Divide between muffin cups. For the mini muffin size, I used about 1/2 teaspoon of crust mixture, you'll just need enough to make a light crust at the bottom.
Combine cream cheese, sugar and cocoa until well-combined. If you want less of a chance of lumps, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese by itself before adding anything else. I unfortunately am NOT the proud owner of any sort of electric mixing tool other than a cheap blender, so i just made sure to beat out the lumps by hand after adding more of the wet ingredients.
Beat in vanilla and food coloring, then eggs, one by one until well blended. Divide among cups, filling will go almost to the top of the cup.
Bake until center is firm. For a regular size muffin pan, it should be 20-25 minutes, for a mini muffin pan, 15-20 minutes. If you choose to remove the baking liners before serving, refrigerate for at least one hour before taking them off, then refrigerate for another hour. Otherwise, refrigerate 2 hours before serving.
Regular muffin pan size will make approximately 16 cheesecakes (according to Betty Crocker), mini muffin pan size made 60. Yes, SIXTY CHEESECAKES.
You can decorate these however you'd like. I did several different things with mine. Some I left just as is, some i dropped a single chocolate chip in the center before baking, some I sprinkled some chocolate sprinkles on before baking.
To give you an idea of how fast these will go, I brought 50 of the 60 this recipe made to work with me, and these were gone in ten minutes flat!