I love cheesecake so much and this past Christmas my parents made some amazing cherry cheesecake bars which were to die for. I love cheesecake, but I really enjoyed the bars because they were easier to eat because of their size. This got me thinking about how long a process making a full-sized cheesecake and bleh. I talked with my mom and we thought that making mini cheesecakes would be perfect! They are quick to make and simple!
Cheesecake is an interesting dessert because it can come in so many forms and styles. You can have just regular cheesecake, New York style cheesecake, cheesecake with fruit, flavored cheesecakes and the list goes on and on! There are so many variations because cheesecake is by far one of the most popular desserts around and everyone has their own take on it.
Most people credit New York for this creamy cake, but its origin goes farther back than most people might realize. Cheesecake actually dates to Ancient Greece, before the invention of writing, so the first recorded recipe found is from 230 A.D. Cheesecake at that time was not what it is today, it was made using smooth cheese, honey and wheat. They would then cook it and then let it cool.
Later, when the Romans conquered Greece, they adapted the cheesecake recipe. This is when the first variation of cheesecake started to pop up. The Romans kept the recipe the same except they added eggs and served it warm. I personally think that sounds gross, but I have always had cheesecake served cold.
It wasn’t until the late 18th century (is it just me or does it seem like all food was created at this time?) that cheesecake became more like what we know today. When Europeans started migrating to the U.S. they brought along this ancient meal.
Around this same time, people started taking out the yeast that was included since King Henry VIII’s version was created and started adding beaten eggs instead. It was at this point that cheesecake became a dessert. It had a fluffier and sweeter taste because there was no yeast to overpower the flavor.
The recipe we know today includes cream cheese, which was created in 1872 by a New York dairy farmer. A few years after he accidentally created one of today's most popular cheeses, he started the Philadelphia cream cheese company.
By the 1900’s New Yorkers were in love with the cheesecake and almost every restaurant had their own version on their menus. The first New York Cheesecake, which has not fruit or toppings, is credited to the same man who gave us the Reuben sandwich, Arnold Reuben. I hope to one day be as lucky as that guy! He created and perfected several of the most popular recipes around!
Not only is cheesecake full of history both in the U.S. but also in several European countries, but it is packed full of flavor as well. It is creamy, rich and sometimes tart. I personally love plain cheesecake, the New York way, but I also can't resist key lime!
What is your favorite kind of cheesecake? Tell me about the cheesecakes you enjoy! I would love to hear all the variations you know of.
Mini Cheesecake Bites
- 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup of melted butter, salted
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 4 pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla plus extra dash
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- Heat oven to 325 degrees
- Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan.
- Combine graham crumbs,4 tbsp. sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press about 2 tbsp. of mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
- Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with a mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust of each mini cake. Fill until 1/4 away from the top.
- Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set.
- Cool at room temperature at least 1 hour. Then cover airtight in the fridge for 2 hours to overnight.
- If you want to add fruit, pick whatever fruit is in season. Combine your cleaned fruit of choice with 1/2 cup sugar. Let sit for at least an hour.
- Now pour the fruit over the chilled cheesecake bites. Put back in the fridge for a least an hour.