Mini Killer Chocolate Cheesecakes

20130120-171104.jpgThe Killer Chocolate Cheesecake from Lori Longbotham’s Luscious Chocolate Desserts is one of my favorite recipes. It’s not very difficult, although it does have a lot of steps that have to be done in order, and the result is delightful: a three-inch slice of chocolaty heaven.

Sometimes, though, it’s just too much. Too much chocolate (a pound), too much cream cheese (three packages), too much time, too much cheesecake in even a narrow slice, and unless I’m having a dozen people over, too much left over. I make this only once a year, on my birthday. Even so, I wanted a smaller version.

Then I found Paula Deen’s mini cheesecakes, and the light bulb went off. Why couldn’t I do the same thing with the chocolate recipe?

As it turns out, I can.

I’m cutting the original recipe in half (and the crust into one third, since there’s less bottom to a cupcake). This gives us an odd number of cupcakes — fifteen — but as long as you have enough pans for that, it’s no big deal. If you really want to cut down the proportions further to make twelve, be my guest. I’d rather a) not do math, and b) have more cupcakes.

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

Killer Chocolate Cheesecake, cupcake edition

Crust:

3 oz. plain chocolate wafers
2 tbsp butter, melted

Heat the oven to 350. Line your cupcake pans with 15 papers. And take out the cream cheese to soften, so it’ll be ready when you’re done with the crusts.

The wafers usually come in a 9 oz. package; just eyeball 1/3 of it and save the rest. If yours are small enough to fit whole into the bottom of your cupcake papers, do that and brush them with butter.

Otherwise, toss them into a food processor with the butter, or if you need to work out some aggression, put them into a plastic bag and pulverize them with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin and then mix in the butter.

Put a spoonful into each cupcake.

Bake the crusts for about six minutes. Take them out to cool, but leave the oven on for the cheesecake.

Filling:

8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate squares, roughly chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
12 oz. cream cheese*, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
Tiny pinch of salt
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

* I really don’t recommend using the 1/3 less fat stuff in a cheesecake. It won’t set right, and you’ll end up with soggy centers. This is chocolate cheesecake, for heaven’s sake; indulge. Each cupcake will be about half the size of a normal slice, anyway.

Directions:

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a metal bowl set over a pot of boiling water, stirring until smooth. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth. Take off the heat and set it aside to cool.

Time to break out the electric mixer. (This recipe really makes me appreciate my stand mixer.)

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until it’s fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well.

Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until it’s just smooth, scraping down the sides if you need to.

Add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat and scrape again.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcakes, filling each one to just under the edge of the paper.

If you want to prevent them from cracking, you can add a cake pan or a roasting pan with about half an inch of water in it on the lower rack and put your cupcakes on the upper. The cheesecakes will rise as they bake and collapse as they cool, so any cracks won’t be terribly noticeable in the end.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool the cheesecakes on a cooling rack in the pans, then chill them in the fridge for several hours, preferably still in the pans.

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