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Petite Cheesecakes with Cookie Crusts

I recently came across a small discovery in the kitchen that made me smile.

First, I found an old recipe for Petite Cheesecakes. It is taped to a page of notebook paper in a homemade cookbook I put together when I was first married. The recipe is neatly written out in calligraphy and photocopied. I don’t remember where it came from and I’m pretty sure I have never tried it before.

I can see why I kept it. Simple and straightforward, it promises cheesecakes without the mystery of hot water baths or spring-form pans. These are as simple as any cupcake and sound delicious.

The recipe as written calls for seven simple ingredients, including the crust, and could easily be cut to six. Most of the six are ingredients many people are likely to have on hand, especially at the holidays: eggs, sugar, vanilla, cream cheese and sour cream. Add to that a box of store bought cookies and you have what you need to make a fabulous dessert or party treat for most any occasion.

It was great to find that old recipe. Still, that alone wasn't the discovery I mentioned. One of the things I like about this recipe is that it calls for a simple store bought cookie to be placed in a cupcake liner for the crust. The original recipe uses a vanilla wafer, and so did I, on my first try. The problem is, the Nilla Wafers I buy are smaller than the bottom of a standard cupcake liner. While the crust was still there and worked fine I wanted a crust across the entire bottom of the cheesecakes.

Next I tried Trader Joe’s Ultimate Vanilla Wafers. They are bigger around and have an even thickness and so they worked well as an alternative. The thing is, I didn’t love the texture. So I dug through my cabinets and found a few other types of store bought cookies to try. I used Triple Ginger Snaps from Trader Joe’s and liked the flavor and color though they were also a little too small.

And then I tried an Oreo cookie. Did you know that an Oreo cookies fits perfectly into the bottom of a cupcake liner? How cool is that... at least when you are making cupcake sized cheesecakes and looking for the perfect cookie crust? The Oreos I had that day were inverted, Golden Uh-Oh's with Chocolate Creme filling. They made a great cheesecake crust and I even found that, peeled of the liner and turned upside-down, the cookie sometimes looks pristinely attached and makes a great novelty.

That little discovery sparked lots of ideas for smile-worthy Petite Cheesecakes:

  • Golden Oreos with vanilla cheesecake drizzled with caramel syrup or Dulce de Leche.
  • Mint Oreos topped with mint flavored cheesecake or chocolate cheesecake, drizzled with chocolate syrup or topped with Andes Chocolate Mint Nuggets.
  • Plain Oreos with vanilla cheesecake and a chocolate drizzle on top with mini-chips or chopped Oreos to garnish.
  • etc.......
So have fun. These are easy, pretty and appeal to the child in everyone!

Petite Oreo Cheesecakes

20 - 30 vanilla wafer, Oreos or other cookies

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of your choice)

8 ounces sour cream (or nonfat Greek yogurt)
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place one cookie in the bottom of each liner.

In a medium mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla or other flavoring extract, continuing to beat until the mixture is well blended.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the cupcake liners, filling three-quarters full.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt, 3 Tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

When cheesecakes have cooled for 20 minutes, frost them with the sour cream mixture. Return cheesecakes to oven for 5 minutes.

Remove and garnish with chopped cookie bits, Andes mint chips, mini chocolate chips or other garnish. Allow cheesecakes to cool and add a drizzle of melted mint chips, chocolate or white chocolate as desired.

Serve as is, or plated.

To plate for an elegant little dessert, skip the garnish and remove cheesecakes from their liners. Drizzle a small dessert plate with chocolate, caramel or other sauce. Place cheesecake on drizzled plate and add more drizzle over the top as desired. If you used an Oreo or other notable cookie on the bottom you might want to turn the cheesecake upside-down when plating.

Note: You can make a chocolate cheesecake version by adding 4 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate chips to the cheesecake batter and 2 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate chips to the topping mixture. Or mix and match.

Serve and enjoy!


Kathy Walker said...

How cute...easy....tasty! Perfect. Yours are so pretty!

Cathy said...

What a great idea to use Oreos as the crust for your beautiful little cheesecakes. And your presentation is so pretty and festive, Lisa.

Ashley said...

I love simple desserts. And smaller portions are always better (if you can hold yourself to one!).

grace said...

hooray for recipes that open up the creativity floodgates! not only are the amazing possibilities endless--the ones you've listed sound awesome--but your discovery involving oreos as crusts is also extremely exciting. great treats!

pam said...

I had no idea that an oreo cookie fit perfectly in a cupcak liner!!! That's good to know.

MaryBeth said...

How darn cute are these. I have have had and made them before but only with a Nilla wafer for a crust.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Your cookies look so top shelf and delicious. You make them seem so easy! Who new about oreo and the cupcake pan...useful information!

Merry Christmas Lisa

Michelle said...

You're not going to believe this but I've made this recipe for years!

I made them for my cookie baskets that I give to our local Police and Fire Departments and it's my most requested recipe! They love 'em.

Robin Sue said...

Lisa I love this idea and no I had no idea the oreao fit in the liners like that! The platter of these look so delicious and tempting. Merry Christmas!

Martha said...

These are great and I love to make them -- I've noticed that vanilla wafers seem to be smaller (for I thought when I did them long ago they filled up the cupcake liner) but I'm glad to know about oreos. I have a recipe for chocolate cheesecakes that DOES use oreos. Basically the same with the addition of chocolate -- very good!

Your photos are beautiful!

dt said...

I had made it day before and it is very delicious. Will definitely keep this recipe. Thanks for sharing

fauxbaker said...

Did you use a whole Oreo or did you separate it and use 1 side for the bottom of cheesecake? Thank you.

Lisa said...

fauxbaker -Thanks for stopping by!
Here I placed one whole Oreo in the bottom to form the crust but one side of the cookie would work just as well. It's really just a matter of personal preference.