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Happy 5th of July!  I meant to get this recipe out for all patriotic celebrations yesterday, but I got distracting enjoying my independence, and that just didn’t happen.  The great thing is that these little bites of lusciousness are wonderful any day of the year.  Smooth, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese morsels topped with fresh berries and vanilla whipped cream, all in a handy-dandy portable cup.

Serve beautifully at a cocktail party, birthday party, for dessert, coffee time or at a potluck.  AND, did I mention you can enjoy one for only 130 calories! Yes, my dessert loving friends, you can have your cheesecake and eat it too, for less than a billion calories.  Cue the heavenly choir music.

We had a grill out lunch with our family and a pool/taco party with our new California friends yesterday.  I took these mini cheesecakes to both parties (because they make one large batch) and came home with none.  Always what a cook wants to see and made me excited to share this treasure with all of you.  I hope everyone had restful, and safe, holiday celebrations.

MINI BERRY CHEESECAKES

makes 24

  • 2 LARGE EGGS, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup SUGAR
  • 16 oz LIGHT CREAM CHEESE, NEUFCHATEL, room temperature (2 packages)
  • 1/2 cup LIGHT SOUR CREAM
  • 1 tsp VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/4 tsp ALMOND EXTRACT
  • 24 VANILLA WAFERS (organic/no preservatives, if possible)
  • 1 1/2 cup FRESH STRAWBERRIES, vertically sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup FRESH BLUEBERRIES
  • 6 oz HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM
  • 1 1/2 tbsp SUGAR
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp CINNAMON, GROUND
  • 1 tsp VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/3 cup APRICOT FRUIT SPREAD, 100% FRUIT
  • FRESH MINT LEAVES, optional for garnish
  1. Line two regular, 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.  Insert one vanilla wafer, flat side down in each cup.  Set aside.
  2. Beat eggs*, sugar and softened cream cheese* with an electric blender until incorporated. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp almond extract and sour cream; continue beating until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Pour even amounts of cheesecake filling into prepared muffin tins, about a heaping ¼ cup each.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until puffed up and firm around outside edges. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes.  Then take out of pan and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled (they will look pale and sunken after cooling).  Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
  5. Before serving, whip the cold cream with an electric mixer for a few minutes.  Add cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 ½ Tbsp sugar; continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
  6. Place chilled cheesecakes on a serving or cake platter.  Top each with even amounts of whipped cream (about 1 Tbsp) spread gently with back of spoon, 3 strawberry slices and about 4 or 5 blueberries.  Gently brush or drizzle berries with slightly warmed (to make spreadable) apricot fruit spread, and tuck a mint leaf behind a strawberry for garnish, if desired.  Serving size: 1 mini cheesecake with toppings. Makes 24 mini cheesecakes.

*Using room temperature eggs and cream cheese will make a smoother, creamier cheesecake filling without lumps.  I left mine out on the counter all day and made them that same evening.

VARIATIONS: Use any seasonal fresh fruits like raspberries, blackberries, kiwi or cherries.  Try adding lemon, lime or orange zest to cheesecake filling or whipped cream for a citrus kick.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 130 calories, 8g fat, 5g sat fat, 45mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium, 11g carb, 10g sugar, 3g protein

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