I’ve posted a couple St. Patrick’s Day themed recipes over the past two weeks. But I think I’ve saved the best for last: these amazing Bailey’s and Chocolate Mini-Cheesecakes. Not only are they the most delicious, perfectly portioned little treats. But they contain three of my favorite ingredients. Or as somebody at work told me “the only three things you really need in life”. What are these three things? Well, of course they are alcohol, chocolate and coffee. Silly. If you didn’t all ready know that, I’m not sure we can be friends….
So let’s break it down. Layer one is a chocolatey crust with instant coffee powder mixed in for a big coffee kick. Layer two is a smooth cheesecake filling with cocoa powder and Bailey’s Irish Cream whipped right into it. And layer three is a rich ganache made with dark chocolate and Bailey’s. So you see, you really can’t go wrong here. Speaking of Irish Cream, have you tried my Homemade Irish Cream yet….?
The other great thing about these Mini-Cheesecakes if how fast and easy they are to put together. Because they are made in a standard muffin tin, the bake up in about a third of the time as a full size cheesecake. No water bath to fuss with. And if the top cracks, who cares! You are going to cover it with ganache and no one will ever know.
Now, I know I say stuff is “easy” all the time. And you may think I’m exaggerating. Or that of course it would be easy for me because I cook for a living. But trust me this time. When I say “easy” I REALLY mean it. And here’s why. The day I made these was one of the craziest days I’ve ever had in my life. I was experiencing some very severe head pain that had been plaguing me for a few days. This lead me first to the dentist office, then to the urgent care and then to the hospital for a CT scan. So I was driving all around Seattle like a mad women – crying, hurting and majorly stressing out (my blood pressure was thru the roof that day!). And I spent hours that day in various waiting rooms and doctors offices. And the end result was this: 1) I’m FINE, 2) I’m going to lay off the Grey’s Anatomy re-runs for a while and 3) I managed to make and photograph these Mini-Cheesecakes amid all that crazy sh**. So there you have it. Proof that you can be kind of
insane busy and still pull these off.
Bailey’s and Chocolate Mini-Cheesecakes
- For the Crust
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (from about 7-8 graham crackers)
- 1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
- For the Cheesecake
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
- For the Ganache
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3.5 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- Make the crust layer. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and instant coffee/espresso powder. Divide the mixture evenly between the lined muffin cups (I used about 1 tablespoon per cup) and press it firmly into the bottom of the muffin cup. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- While the crust is baking, make the cheesecake layer. In the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, cocoa powder and Bailey’s, mixing until everything is well blended and there are no more lumps. Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly over the crust in the 12 muffins cups (the cups will be very full – that’s OK!). Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed up and the centers will be almost set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool (you can leave them in the muffin tin). As it cools, the cheesecake layer will collapse slightly. Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the cheesecakes to your refrigerator to chill for about 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Make your ganache. In a small heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the cream until it’s just simmering. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until it’s melted. Stir in the Bailey’s. Spoon over the chilled cheesecake. Transfer to your refrigerator for a few minutes to set the ganache.
- Optional: To garnish with chocolate curls, run a vegetable peeled along the side of a small square of chocolate.
- Cheesecakes can be stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
1. Any chocolate cookie or wafer should work in place of the chocolate graham crackers.