Berry and Bright

Simply, having, a Wonderful Christmastime

Seems like only yesterday we were packing away the ornaments, and now here we are celebrating Christmas once again! I feel fortunate to be able to spend this day with family and close friends. The presents are opened, and now we can relax with some delicious food, wine and something sweet. This season usually finds me making batches of peppermint cookies (my fav!); however, this year I decided to go with a new dessert—with a little extra winter cheer. Recently I experimented with my Thanksgiving leftovers, and decided to make a new dessert with the surplus fresh cranberry sauce. I absolutely love cranberries, and something about them seemed the perfect fit for a frosty winter occasion. I make fruit-based cherry & chocolate cheesecakes in the summertime, and thought I’d adapt that recipe here using a spiced graham crust, in mini bite-sized servings. Perfect for a holiday party, or just because cheesecake is darn delicious.

cranberry cheesecakes - 20

Pour yourself some egg nog (enter bottle of rum) & whip-up a batch of these—even if you don’t already have the leftover  cran sauce (that’s easy too!) All you’ll need are a few ingredients and either a cupcake pan, or miniature cupcake pan in this case.

5 from 1 reviews
Holiday Cranberry Cheesecakes
Say Merry Christmas with these frosted-cranberry mini cheesecakes, perfect for a holiday party or just to celebrate the season in style!
Serves: 24 mini cheesecakes (with extra batter leftover) or 12 regular muffin size
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
  • 1.25 cups fresh cranberry sauce (recipe below)
  • 2, 8-oz packages Neufchâtel cheese, softened to room temp (or light cream cheese)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
For The Crust:
  • 2 cups cinnamon graham crackers, (well crushed into crumbs, no chunks)
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
Dinnervine (Thanksgiving) Cranberry Sauce:
  • 1, 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • ¾-1 cup sugar (to your liking)
  • 1T fresh orange zest
  • 1 cup water
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash sea salt
What to do:
Dinnervine (Thanksgiving) Cranberry Sauce:
  1. Rinse cranberries and drain.
  2. In large pot on stove, add water and sugar, bringing to a low boil, then adding cranberries and bringing back to a gentle boil, slowly.
  3. Add orange zest, salt, cinnamon, and continue to heat until cranberries pop and sauce thickens.
  4. Cool sauce completely and store in refrigerator.
Make Cheesecakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Well grease miniature cupcake pan wells with shortening or butter (or regular-sized muffin tins), and there is usually leftover cheesecake mix when using the mini pan (about enough for one muffin tin), set them aside.
  3. Melt butter.
  4. Put graham crackers in a gallon-size, sealed, Ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, sugar, cloves, ginger, and melted butter, combining well with a fork.
  6. Press thin-medium layer of crust mix into bottom of each well of the mini or regular cupcake pan, trying to press evenly (I prefer a thinner layer of crust in the mini pan, since they are so small).
  7. Pre-bake crust in oven for about 5 mins or less, just to help firm slightly, and remove and cool pan completely on wire rack.
  8. In bowl of electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sugar on medium until smooth, for a minute.
  9. Add eggs (one at a time), and then vanilla, blending on medium for an additional minute.
  10. Then add cranberry sauce, stirring to combine thoroughly.
  11. Place cheesecake mix into freezer for a few minutes to firm-up, or fridge for 10 minutes.
  12. Reduce oven temperature to 350.
  13. Fill the pan wells with chilled cheesecake mixture to the brim (on top of par-baked crust).
  14. Bake cheesecakes until top layer has firmed and toothpick comes out of center, clean (about 20 minutes or more, but if using regular-sized muffin tins, cook time will take longer).
  15. Cool finished cheesecakes completely in pan, on wire rack.
  16. Remove each cake gently by sliding sharp knife around outer edge of cooled cakes (refrigerate for several minutes before if having difficulty).
  17. Store leftover cheesecakes in the refrigerator or freezer, in an air-tight container.
Notes:
These are very simple, but softening the cream cheese first is crucial. Also, I've found it important with the leftover cakes, to remove from pan before storing in the fridge, then storing in fridge in airtight container. These also freeze beautifully in an airtight container. This recipe is easily doubled!
Deep red in color & fresh and vibrant in taste, cranberries are nutrient dense. They’re rich in several key phytonutrients, which offer antioxidant benefits like immune support and anti-inflammatory. So, dessert can be sweet and still nutritional (okay it’s cheesecake, but we’re going to eat it anyway, right?).

In the spirit of this season and sugar in general, today is the time to celebrate with the four main food groups:  Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup – The Elf.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Hoping your night is full of sweet joys of the season.

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Welcome to the dinnervine!

Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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