The perfect variation on cheesecake--Lemon Cheesecake Muffins!
For years I have made my favorite recipe for cheesecake: Chantal's New York Style Cheesecake, and have never been pushed to do something entirely original. But I got creative, and made this variation. Keeping in mind the basic makeup of cheesecake base, I made these delicious lemon Cheesecake Muffins.
Lemon zest is finely chopped in with the sugar, creating a vibrant lemon flavor, with some lemon juice in the wet ingredients. The lemon curd goes well on the top, completing the lemon flavor. This is a perfect party treat--though, be sure to make this recipe the day before you want to serve it; it spends alot of time chilling in the fridge. But it's certainly worth it. And the best part--you get to whip this cheesecake mixture up in your blender!
Step 1: Ingredients
7 graham crackers
1 tablespoon of butter, melted (you can add more, if needed)
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
½ cup white sugar
two teaspoons lemon zest
⅛ cup milk
⅛ cup lemon juice
⅔ cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Make sure that the cream cheese is softened completely to room temperature. An easy way to do this is to put it in the microwave on low power for a minute or so--depending on your microwave.
Lemon curd can be purchased at nearly any store. Or, you can make it yourself.
Step 2: Prepare
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
This recipe serves about 12; Place 12 muffin papers into your muffin tins.
Step 3: The Crust.
The crust is the easiest part.
Add your graham crackers to the food processor, and blend until fine crumbs are all that remain. (you should crumble them up by hand a bit, beforehand, so it will blend up easier.)
Then add the melted butter, however much is needed to maintain a little shape with your crumbs. After this is completed, the simple mixture should look like the picture above.
Then press the mixture into the bottom of your muffin papers.
Step 4: Filling: the Sugar and Zest
If you don't have a lemon zester, you can always zest the lemons as shown in the picture. It's a relatively easy way to go. After your whole lemon is zested, the amount of zest should be approximately two teaspoons worth.
Place zest and sugar in blender, and blend until zest blended finely in with sugar.
Step 5: Filling: the Wet Ingredients
1). Pulse Cream Cheese into Sugar until smooth. DO NOT OVER-MIX THE WET INGREDIENTS.
2). Pour in Milk, the eggs, and the lemon juice. Remember, don't over-mix; pulse until ingredients are just incorporated.
3). Add in the last 3 ingredients: Flour, vanilla, and sour cream. Again, blend until smooth, and just incorporated.
Step 6: Baking and Final Touches
1). Carefully pour mixture into crusted muffin papers. This recipe makes about 12 muffins--an entire muffin tin.
2). Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees), for about 40 minutes, or until almost set, and just beginning to slightly brown. Do not over-bake.
3). Turn oven off and leave muffins, in a bit, to cool. Then put muffins in fridge to chill 6+ hours. (if you made your own lemon curd, be sure that's chilling, too!)
NOTE: don't worry if your muffins have a squishy weird texture, after you take them out of the oven. Once it cools in the fridge, it will taste and feel exactly how you want it: cheesecake!
4). When you're ready to eat the chilled muffins, top with chilled lemon curd, and serve.