- 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
For the sugared cranberries
- Combine ½ cup cranberries and maple syrup in a bowl; toss to coat.
- 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.
- Arrange cranberries in a single layer on a plate.
- Allow to dry at least one hour, or up to overnight.
For the cranberry glaze
- 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.
- Cook, mashing the cranberries with the back of a spoon, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- 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.
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Lightly grease a mini cheesecake pan or line a standard 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and melted butter in a mixing bowl and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened.
- 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.
- Bake the crusts for 5 minutes; remove from the oven and set aside.
- Using a stand or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth.
- Add the remaining ½ cup sugar and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time on low speed until just combined.
- 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.
- Bake at 325°F for 17-19 minutes or just until the tops of the cheesecakes are set.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for one hour.
- Carefully remove from the pan and chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.