Thin Mint Mini Cheesecakes (THM S)
I wanted to think of a fun, green dessert to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this weekend, but was having trouble with inspiration. Then my husband suggested his favorite - mint chocolate. My mind got to churning, then I settled on mini mint chocolate cheesecakes, and I could not be happier!
Cheesecake is one of those desserts that's pretty straight forward and easy to prepare. However, not everyone has a spring form pan laying around their house - what to do? Mini cheesecakes in a muffin pan! Honestly, I think that's almost better than one big cheesecake. You have better portion control, no slicing, and it's easier to store. Of course, if you REALLY wanted to, you can make this exact recipe in a 10-inch springform pan instead of a muffin pan.
Then pour in the unsalted butter and combine it with your hands. The mixture isn't terribly wet, but you do want it sticking together slightly. Think of damp dirt - that's what you're going for here.
Line your muffin pan with paper or silicone liners. Begin pressing the crust mixture into the bottom of your liners. You want to firmly press it down so that the crust stays together once the liners are off, and it gets a little crispy. You definitely don't want to skip the liners here, because then the crust will not crisp or stay together, and you'll have a hard time getting the cheesecakes out of the pan.
Use an ice cream scoop to scoop even portions of the filling onto your crusts.
Pop them into a 350 degree oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. They won't get too golden (if they do they're over-baked!), so look for a little color towards the centers and they should feel firm (with a tiny giggle) in the middle.
Let them cool at room temperature for about 10-12 minutes, then pop them into the fridge for 2-3 hours to cool and set.
After they've had a chance to firm, make the ganache topping. Start by heating the cream over low heat in a small sauce pan. Chop the 85% dark chocolate or Lily's chocolate chips and add it to a heat-safe bowl. When the cream is hot, and bubbling a little, pour it over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Begin spooning the warm ganache over the tops of your cheesecakes. You want enough for each one, so don't get too happy about it in the beginning. Spread one generous tablespoon of ganache over the top of each cheesecake. If you have leftovers at the end, then you can go back and fill as needed.
Once they're all covered, pop them back into the fridge for another 45 minutes, or until serving. The ganache will be firmly set, but still soft to a fork (or mouth ^_~).
These mini cheesecakes are the perfect, impressive yet low-maintenance dessert. They look so pretty, and don't take a ton of effort.
The filling is luscious and creamy with just a hint of mint, while the crust is coarse and chocolatey. Then you have the rich ganache on top that's smooth and soft.
The perfect treat to celebrate a holiday, or any day!