Mini Blackberry and Macadamia Nut Cheesecakes
Don't you just want to pick this off of your screen and eat it? What's better than a bite-sized creamy little cheesecake with a chocolate graham cracker crust, blackberry sauce, and crunchy macadamia nuts on top? Not much!
I made these for Easter this year and aside from a little difficulty getting them out of the mini muffin pans, they turned out great and were delicious. I love the idea of bite-sized ANYTHING because those type of things are perfect for parties and gatherings.
I used Giada's recipe and tweaked it a bit, omitting the orange zest and instead adding the blackberry sauce and the macadamia nuts. I love the idea of using ricotta cheese in the cheesecake mixture... it made them light and not too incredibly sweet. They were just right in my opinion. I think the next time I make these, however, I will try omitting the water bath. I think the graham cracker crusts were not able to get crunchy enough with the constant moisture coming from the water bath. Plus, since we made extra filling and crust, we ended up making a regular full sized cheesecake the next day and did omit the water bath, resulting in a crunchy crust.
To make these little gems, start by making the blackberry sauce.
Start by adding some sugar and water to the blackberries and heat the mixture up over medium-low heat.
Cook until the mixture starts to get jelly-like and the liquid coats the back of a spoon. Then let the blackberry sauce cool down, which will thicken it more, before topping the cheesecakes.
Next, make the crust by smashing up graham crackers, then adding cocoa powder and melted butter.
After spraying the mini muffin pan with Pam, press a teaspoon of the chocolate graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cup. Use the bottom of a shot glass if you'd like.
Fill each muffin cup with a heaping tablespoon of the cheesecake mixture consisting of cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, and eggs.
If you'd like, place the mini muffin pan on a cookie sheet and fill the cookie sheet halfway with hot water to create a water bath. However, I suggest you skip this step.
Bake the cheesecakes at 350 degrees for like 45 minutes. The recipe only calls for a baking time of 25 minutes, but that just ain't gonna do it folks. Sometimes I wonder if they even test some of these Food Network recipes.
Once the cheesecakes are done, and you will know that they're done if a toothpick stuck into the center of one of the cheesecakes comes out clean, and they have cooled, use a sharp knife to cut around each cheesecake to loosen them and pop them out of the muffin pan. Some of the crust will inevitably stick to the bottom, but most of it comes out. Top each cheesecake with some of the blackberry sauce and some coarsely chopped macadamia nuts. Yum!