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Individual Mint Chocolate Cheesecakes

The incentive for creating these mini minty-chocolate treats was threefold:

  1. My Individual Peanut Butter Cheesecakes and Individual Ginger Pumpkin Cheesecakes seemed to be a big hit.
  2. I received a package full of goodies from Back to Nature to sample, including a box of Fudge Mint Cookies (thank you, Genevieve!).
  3. I received a bunch of Chobani Greek yogurt – an ingredient I always include as a replacement for sour cream in my cheesecake recipes – to enjoy (thanks, Emily!).

I immediately thought of using the Fudge Mint Cookies as a crust for a new individual cheesecake recipe.

Whoever initially brainstormed the idea of combining rich chocolate with fresh peppermint must have been a culinary genius. Just think about how many renowned favorites feature this divine flavor combination: Peppermint Patties, Andes chocolate mints, peppermint hot chocolate, Thin Mints, mint chocolate chip ice cream, etc. Classic.

Having never before created a homemade mint-chocolate treat, I was a bit unsure of how much peppermint extract to add to the cheesecake filling mixture. The amount listed in the ingredient list (1 tsp) suited my taste buds perfectly, but you may adjust the measurement accordingly.

If you follow Healthy Food For Living regularly, you are well aware that I tend to use less sugar than is typical in desserts. I especially employ this method when making cheesecakes, as I love the tang of the cream cheese and Greek yogurt and prefer not to mask it with copious amounts of sugar. That being said, I know that most people prefer their desserts to be very sweet, so of course you may add more sugar if you’d like.

The consistency of the cheesecake filling is tough to describe, as I was simultaneously reminded of dense fudge and airy mousse as I sunk my teeth into my first bite. Neither the chocolate nor the peppermint flavor dominates, but rather they beautifully compliment each other. The crisp mint chocolate cookie “crust” provides the perfect textural contrast to the soft cheesecake filling, and also serves to heighten the rich yet refreshing mint-chocolate flavor combination.

These Individual Mint Chocolate Cheesecakes are an easy-to-make, delicious, and not overly-indulgent dessert that are perfect for the holiday season. A light dusting of powdered sugar would be a nice finishing touch, as would an accompanying mug of peppermint hot chocolate.

Individual Mint Chocolate Cheesecakes

yields 18 individual cheesecakes

Ingredients:

  • 18 chocolate mint cookies (such as Back to Nature)
  • 16 oz neufchatel (1/3-less-fat) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup good-quality chocolate chips, (I used semi-sweet), melted and slightly cooled (you can melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring after each 30 second intervals for about 1 1/2 minutes)
  • 2 Tbsp evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar (or up to 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp pure peppermint extract (start with 1/2 tsp, taste batter, and add more if you’d like… I used the full 1 tsp)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (such as Chobani)
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper or foil liners. Place 1 cookie in the bottom of each of 18 lined cups.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, (or in large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the neufchatel and melted chocolate at medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add in evaporated cane juice and beat until combined. Beat in peppermint extract. Taste batter and add more sugar and/or peppermint extract if desired.
  3. Beat in one egg at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in yogurt and salt.
  4. Spoon batter evenly among the 18 lined cups, filling each almost to the top (I like to use an ice cream scoop to keep each cheesecake a uniform size). With the back of a spoon, smooth out the top of each filled cup.
  5. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until filling is set, 22-24 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight, before serving.

*Note: as is common in cheesecakes not baked in a water bath, some of mine cracked during baking. The cracks became less apparent as the cheesecakes cooled and deflated, which is also perfectly normal.

 

 


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