Mini Peppermint Mocha Cheesecakes

Happy Friday guys! Are we excited or stressed out that it’s the final weekend before Christmas? I’m actually feeling pretty good. Nothing is wrapped, but the shopping is just about done which is kind of a miracle given that I’m usually out on Christmas Eve picking up the last few things I need. I always forget how crazy the crowds and traffic are in these last few days. Yesterday I was out in the middle of the day and stopped at a big shopping plaza nearby. Said plaza has only one way in and out, and no joke, I sat in traffic for nearly 25 minutes just to get out. It was insane!

Mini Peppermint Mocha Cheesecakes

No shopping for me today, that’s for sure. Instead, I’m heading down to Shane’s office for his annual holiday party. They usually have it catered plus it’s a potluck, so there’s never a shortage of good food! I’m bringing cookies (which I still need to make this morning, hello procrastination) as well as these mini peppermint mocha cheesecakes.

Mini Peppermint Mocha Cheesecakes

I’ve had my eye on Courtney’s peppermint mocha cheesecake since she posted it last year and knew I was putting in on my holiday baking list this month. Instead of making a full-size cheesecake though, I figured minis might be more well received at the party. Have you ever noticed that no one wants to cut into a big cake or cheesecake when you bring one somewhere? Cupcakes and minis tend to go much more quickly! Plus, they’re cuter, but I’m pretty sure no one except me cares about that :)

Mini Peppermint Mocha Cheesecakes

So, let’s talk about these mini cheesecakes. The base is an Oreo crust but it’s made with seasonal peppermint-flavored cookies instead of the regular (though obviously those would be fine too). Both peppermint extract and instant coffee granules are added to the creamy chocolate cheesecake filling to give it the perfect amount of peppermint mocha flavor. And of course, no cheesecake is complete without a little dollop of whipped cream on top, right? These are so good I almost don’t want to share them! If you’re a cheesecake lover and are looking for a seasonal version to make this year, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Mini Peppermint Mocha Cheesecakes

Mini Peppermint Mocha Cheesecakes
adapted from Cook Like a Champion

{Note: If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, you can double this recipe and make it in a 9-inch springform pan (see link to Courtney’s recipe above for baking times). It may also work in a cupcake pan as well, but I haven’t tried it. And if you can’t find peppermint Oreos, the regular ones are fine.}

Crust
1 cup peppermint Oreo crumbs (about 10 cookies)
pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1/4 cup sour cream (light is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a mini cheesecake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the Oreo cookie crumbs and salt. Add the butter and toss until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Place about 2 teaspoons of the mixture into each well of the pan and use your fingertips to press into an even layer. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F.

To make the filling: In a small bowl stir together the sour cream, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and instant coffee until well combined and the instant coffee granules have dissolved. Add the chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second bursts on 50% power, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the sugar and continue beating for about 2 minutes, until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the melted chocolate. Beat on medium-low speed until incorporated. Mix in the sour cream mixture. Finally, add the egg and beat just until combined.

Divide the filling mixture evenly among the wells of the pan, filling each almost all the way to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheesecakes are just barely set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the cheesecakes to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight (or at least for 4-6 hours).

Gently remove the cheesecakes from the pan, then remove the metal disc from the bottom of each. (If the sides are messy and you want to clean them up, you can use a hot knife to smooth the cheesecake.)

Add the heavy cream and the sugar to a medium bowl. Using a whisk or a hand mixer, beat the cream until it holds medium-firm peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a decorate tip and pipe a swirl on top of each cooled cheesecake.

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes