Dessert

Mini Cranberry Cheesecakes

Total Time 5 hours (includes cooling time)

Servings 16 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, divided  
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup 
  • ¼ cup white sanding sugar 
  • 1 large (9-10 ounce) orange, juiced and zested 
  • ⅓ cup water 
  • 1 ¼  cup granulated sugar, divided (½ cup sauce, ¼ cup crust, ½ cup cheesecake) 
  • 1 ½ cups crushed cinnamon graham crackers  
  • ¼ cup Darigold unsalted butter, melted 
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (block style, not whipped), at room temperature 
  • 1/3 cup Darigold sour cream, at room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 

Instructions

For the sugared cranberries 

  1. Combine ½ cup cranberries and maple syrup in a bowl; toss to coat.
  2. Add a small amount of sanding sugar to a separate bowl. Working in batches of about 4-5 cranberries, add cranberries to sanding sugar, sprinkle with additional sugar and gently toss to coat.
  3. Arrange cranberries in a single layer on a plate.
  4. Allow to dry at least one hour, or up to overnight.  

 For the cranberry glaze 

  1. Combine orange juice, orange zest, water, ½ cup granulated sugar, and remaining 1 cup cranberries in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Cook, mashing the cranberries with the back of a spoon, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Strain the cranberries and sauce through a fine mesh strainer, gently mashing the cranberries with the back of a spoon to extract all of the liquid.
  5. Cool the sauce completely, about 30 minutes. If the sauce is too thick once cooled, add ¼ teaspoon of water at a time to reach desired consistency.  

 For the cheesecakes 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Lightly grease a mini cheesecake pan or line a standard 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
  3. Combine graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and melted butter in a mixing bowl and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened.  
  4. Spoon roughly 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture into each of the muffin or mini cheesecake cups. Using the bottom of a small cup or measuring cup, press the crumbs down to create a firm, even crust. 
  5. Bake the crusts for 5 minutes; remove from the oven and set aside. 
  6. Using a stand or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth.
  7. Add the remaining ½ cup sugar and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  8. Mix in the eggs one at a time on low speed until just combined. 
  9. Evenly distribute the batter between all 12 liners in the cupcake pan, filling each nearly to the top. If using a mini cheesecake pan, you will have enough batter and crust mixture to make 3-4 more cheesecakes. 
  10. Bake at 325°F for 17-19 minutes or just until the tops of the cheesecakes are set. 
  11.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for one hour.
  12. Carefully remove from the pan and chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.