Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Minis
Simple, no-fail mini cheesecakes are given a hot cocoa twist with whipped cream, mini marshmallows, and a light dusting of cocoa powder!
This post is sponsored by PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese.
I bring you the world’s cutest hot cocoa cheesecake minis. Wait, wait! In miniature form, no less. I’m literally having a hard time handling how festive and adorable these cheesecakes are, especially with their edible chocolate handles. Yes, let’s all take a quick minute and allow the following sentence to sink in:
Edible chocolate handles. My life is complete.
Ok, so here’s the backstory on these cheesecakes. A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a cheesecake baking class with Philadelphia Cream Cheese at Sur La Table in downtown Chicago. We had the opportunity to learn a few tips from their head pastry chef, as well as try our hands at baking up (and eating!) a few of their holiday-inspired cheesecake flavors.
I’m here to bring you one of those cheesecake recipes, as well as let you in on my best cheesecake-baking tips. Let’s do this.
Hot Cocoa Cheesecakes
During our baking class, I fell particularly hard for these hot cocoa cheesecake minis. They are essentially chocolate cheesecakes baked in a simple Oreo cookie crust.
My favorite version includes a splash of Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur too. You might want to skip this if you’re serving kiddos, but adults will love you for it.
To give these cheesecakes a classic hot chocolate twist, they’re topped with a dollop of whipped cream, mini marshmallows, and a light dusting of cocoa powder. Not only are they incredibly festive, fun to assemble, and simple in ingredients, they also happen to be really easy to make. Like, way easier than they look.
While you’ll need to set aside two hours for chilling and setting in the fridge, the actual cheesecakes can be assembled and baked in under an hour.
If you’ve been intimidated or scared off by cheesecake baking in the past (I’ve been there!), this is the perfect cheesecake recipe with which to get your feet wet. You won’t even need a springform pan as these mini cheesecakes are baked in a standard muffin pan.
Cheesecakes sometimes have a reputation of being finicky and difficult to bake (the dreaded crack), but many of these issues can be avoided by following a few simple steps.
Tips for Mini Cheesecake Success:
- Bring your cream cheese to room temperature (leaving it out for about 20 minutes on your kitchen countertop) before mixing.
- Before you add the eggs, beat the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain.
- Add eggs slowly and mix until just incorporated. Overmixing of the eggs is the biggest culprit to the cheesecake crack.
- When in doubt, add a topping!
- If you wish to make a lower fat cheesecake, feel free to substitute regular cream cheese with low fat cream cheese/Neufchatel; however, the end result will be softer.
Last, but not least, always use a high-quality cream cheese, such as Philadelphia Cream Cheese, in your cheesecakes. It really makes a huge difference. Generic cream cheese brands will not produce equal results.
As someone who survived on bagels and cream cheese for the first five years of her life (kidding…sort of) and made thousands of cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in my food truck days, I’ve been using and buying their cream cheese for decades. Literally.
With just five simple ingredients, Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese is an unmatched ingredient for making creamy cheesecakes from scratch. All of their dairy is sourced from local farmers in Wisconsin and New York, and goes from farm to creamery in just six days.
If you’re looking to take these mini cheesecakes over the top, don’t forget the edible chocolate handles. I promise, all of your friends and family will be blown away. Total holiday wow factor.
I mean, does it get more festive than this?
Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Minis
Hot Cocoa Cheesecakes:
- 10 Oreo or chocolate sandwich cookies crushed finely in a food processor
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter melted
- 2 (8-ounce packages) Philadelphia Cream Cheese softened at room temperature for 20 minutes
- ½ cup (100 g), plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar divided
- ¼ cup, plus ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder divided
- ¼ cup (60 mL) Bailey's Original Irish Cream Liqueur (optional) see recipe notes
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ounces (56 g) semisweet chocolate for the chocolate handles
- ¾ cup (180 mL) heavy cream
- ½ cup mini marshmallows
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter; press onto bottoms of paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Beat cream cheese, ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, and ¼ cup cocoa powder in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand-held mixer) until blended. Mix in the Bailey's Irish Cream, if using. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Do not over mix. Distribute the batter evenly among the cookie crust cups.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the centers are almost set. Place on a rack and cool completely. Refrigerate for two hours.
- Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the semi sweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave using 30 seconds intervals, stirring with a spatula after each interval. Spoon the chocolate into a resealable Ziploc bag. Cut a very small piece off one bottom corner of the bag; pipe the chocolate into 12 small 'C' shapes, resembling cup handles, onto the lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid and ready to use.
- Remove the liners from the cheesecakes. Beat the cream and remaining teaspoon of sugar in a separate medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form; spoon onto the cheesecakes. Dust with remaining cocoa powder; top with marshmallows. Gently press the chocolate handles into the side of each cheesecake.
Tips for Success:
- Be sure to add the eggs slowly and mix until only just incorporated. Over mixing of eggs is the biggest culprit to the cheesecake crack.
- If you wish to make a lower fat cheesecake, feel free to substitute regular cream cheese with low fat cream cheese or Neufchatel; however, the end result will be softer.
Thank you for supporting the brands I love and use in my own kitchen! For more information and holiday recipes, visit www.creamcheese.com.