I don't know how else to start other than by saying that I was so excited to make this recipe that I could hardly stand it!
That's what journalists would call the hook, right?
I saw it about two weeks ago and immediately put it on my list of things to make soon. Not the normal list, where things can linger and be lost for weeks or even months, but the "make this right now" short list. It's the super exclusive velvet-roped VIP section of recipes. Basically, this recipe made it straight to the champagne room with just a single nod to the bouncer and was led back by the owner himself.
(This is how I assume VIP sections and champagne rooms work, anyway. My only experience with said places comes from movies like Night at the Roxbury. Fantastic movie, by the way.)
I was so smitten that I hatched a plan to change my dessert offering for friends' annual pumpkin party this past weekend. Originally, I announced that I'd bring pie, flavor TBD. But that was P.C. (pre-cheesecakes). I brought up the topic at the last tailgate and asked what flavor I should make. Nick said apple with crust, Natalie voted for apple crumb, and Matt begged for cherry. They couldn't agree.
And secretly, I knew this would happen, so I rejoiced and did a little happy dance on the inside, knowing I had found the "in" I was looking for. "Okay, so what if I didn't make pie, but something else? Maybe mini Halloween Oreo cheesecakes?"
There was silence. And then Nick and Natalie exchanged looks while Matt gave me a look. That sweet, pleading look that only husbands who really, really want their wives to do the thing they just said they might do. "Yeah, you should make the Oreo cheesecakes," declared Nick. So I did.
While making a full size cheesecake requires a bit of science and careful attention to detail, making mini cheesecakes could not have been easier. I think my favorite shortcut had to be the crust. No need to make and bake a crust from scratch. Just plop a whole Oreo in the bottom of the cupcake liners and the crust is already done!
I just love miniature individual desserts, don't you? It makes the eater feel like the treat was meant only for her. Plus, small-sized delights mean that one (large) bite gets you a sample of every part of the dessert... and gives you a view of the very festive coloring of the mini cheesecakes! The slightly sweet but oh so creamy cheesecake filling was T.D.F. - to die for. That's what the vampires said, anyway. Ha! And that Oreo "crust" was just soft enough to sink your teeth into. Three more bites and that cheesecake was history. Rest in peace, delicious mini cheesecake.
The most time-consuming part of the entire process? It was deciding on which cupcake papers to buy. Target's Halloween section gets me every. single. time. Every time! I think my head might explode just thinking about the possibilities for other holidays and various colored Oreos...
One year ago: Pumpkin gooey butter cakes
Two years ago: Portobello mushroom lasagna; Baked pumpkin pie oatmeal
Mini Oreo Cheesecakes
(adapted from Aloha: Yinz Mangia!)
A few notes: Like I said, feel free to vary the kind of Oreo (mint, peanut butter, heads or tails, other seasonal colored varieties), food coloring, and cupcake liner to suit your mood and occasion, whatever they may be.
24 Halloween Oreos (or traditional Double Stuf)
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Orange food coloring (or red and yellow)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners. Place one whole Oreo in the bottom of each liner. Meanwhile, place remaining 6 Oreos in a mini food processor, processing until fine crumbs; set aside. (You could also chop and pound the heck out of them with a rolling pin.)
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add vanilla, eggs, and sour cream, mixing just until smooth. Add orange food coloring, one drop at a time, mixing after each addition until color is uniform. (FYI, I used McCormick's standard liquid food coloring. 5 drops of yellow and 5 drops of red achieved a pale orange that I wanted.)
Divide cream cheese mixture equally among the 18 cups. Don't worry if cups are very full -- the cheesecakes won't rise while baking. Top each cheesecake with roughly 1 teaspoon of Oreo cookie crumbs. Bake for 22 minutes, rotating pans once after 11 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. Once cool enough to handle, remove cheesecakes from pan and chill in fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days until ready to serve. Remove wrappers and enjoy!