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It took me two days to complete the four steps required to create this dessert, but I do believe that the end results were worth the effort . . . and I hope you do, too!

Step 1: PREPARE & BAKE GF GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • ! Box (7.5 oz) *Gluten-free Cinnamon Graham Crackers (I used Pamela's Brand)
  • 6 ounces Unsalted Butter at room temperature
  • 1 12-cup Muffin pan
  • A Food Processor

*You will need about 2 cups of crumbled graham crackers to proceed

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put the graham crackers into the food processor, breaking them up into big pieces as you do so.
  2. Pulse the broken crackers as many times as needed to crumble them into fairly big crumbles.
  3. Add the 6 TBS's of softened butter and blend (pulse) until you have a well-blended mixture of moist crumbles (blend until you can "clump" some of the mixture between your fingers).
  4. Place approximately 1 rounded TBS of the mixture into each of the muffin cups and press down firmly with your fingers.
  5. Bake the crust for about 8 minutes (or until evenly browned); remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling (allow to cool completely; about 1 hour).
  • *In about 1 hour you will need a 300 degree F oven, so either shut your oven off now, or reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F and hold it there until you are ready to fill and bake the cheesecakes.

Step 2: PREPARE THE CHEESECAKE FILLING

Preheat oven to 300 F.

  • Fill an oven-proof dish with 2 cups of water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. (This will help to keep the mini-cheesecakes from cracking).

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:

  1. 4 ounces Cream Cheese at room temperature
  2. 2/3 Cup Chocolate-flavored Sweetened Condensed Milk
  3. 1/2 Cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  4. 1/2 Cup Italian-style Marscapone Cream Cheese
  5. 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  6. 2 Large Eggs (I prefer organic cage-free brown eggs)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon fresh Orange Zest

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the cream cheese in the bottom of a large mixing bowl and mash it down a bit with a fork.
  2. Pour the Chocolate-flavored Condensed Milk over the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  3. Add the Ricotta and Marscapone cheeses and the Vanilla Extract and beat again until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs, 1 egg at a time, beating each time until the egg is well blended into the mixture.
  5. Add the Orange Zest, mix just until well blended, then ladle the mixture over the graham cracker crusts,filling each cup almost to the top.
  6. Just before putting the muffin pan in the oven I got the bright idea to sprinkle some chocolate chips onto of each filled muffin cup.
  7. Place the muffin pan on the upper oven rack and bake at 300 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes (the cheesecakes should be slightly "jiggly" around the center, but firm around the sides when done - mine took 18 minutes).
  • Remove muffin pan from the oven and allow to cool on a rack until cool enough to place in the refrigerator; then refrigerate for at least 6 hours before glazing with the ganache (see next step) - I covered the muffin pan and left it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • When the mini cheesecake muffins were first removed from the oven, they were nice and "puffy." bit after a few minutes they deflated somewhat. . .that is to be expected!

Step 3: PREPARE THE GANACHE AND GLAZE THE MINI MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  3. 1/2 Cup Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Mix the Whipping Cream & Chocolate chips together in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir; if the mixture is not smooth, microwave for another 15 or 20 seconds.
  • Remove the chilled muffins from the refrigerator and drop a little off the whole cranberry sauce onto the top of each muffin; then cover with the White Chocolate Ganache, letting some run down the sides.
  • NOTE: I was experimenting here. I dropped a little Whole Cranberry Sauce onto the top of 1/2 of the muffins, and sprinkled some more chocolate chips on the other half; then I covered them with the ganache. I felt that they looked a little dull, so I added some more cranberry sauce and chips to the tops of the muffins and I think this really enhanced their appearance.

This recipe is a variation of the ganache recipe that I found online at: http://www.acupofmascarpone.com/2012/11/chocolate-cranberry-fudge-cake-with.html

Step 4: TIME FOR DESSERT . . .

A rich finishing touch to a great Holiday Dinner!

I have estimated the nutrition for this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer. It appears that each mini cheesecake contains about 284 calories; the ganache will add approximately 146 more calories to this dessert. Once in a while you have to throw caution to the wind and enjoy your sweets!

PLEASE NOTE: My recipe for Gluten-Free Mini Ricotta Chocolate Cheese Cakes was inspired by Marcela-Valladolid's Mexican Ricotta Cheesecake recipe that was posted on www.foodnetwork.com.

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Bio: I am a 80-year-old self-proclaimed Chef who has spent most of his life in the hotel/resort tourism industry. I have traveled up and down ... More »
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