Autumn is most definitely my favorite time of year. Actually scratch that, maybe it’s Christmastime. Or my birthday. Or Thanksgiving. Okay I really can’t pick a favorite, I pretty much love the months of September – December!
I think it’s the huge variety of holidays that take place during those months. We start with the official end of summer, and Labor Day weekend is usually a ton of fun. Then the weather starts to get fabulously perfect, and October comes in with the changing of the colors all around. Then Halloween – nuff said! And this year, we’re celebrating my birthday in November, so that’s pretty awesome, before Thanksgiving! (Long story, I’ll share later.) Then my actual birthday, and all of the days leading up to Christmas, then New Years… wow! I really love this time of year. :)
Before I begin, let me first say that I LOVE Martha Stewart. I don’t care what anyone says about her, she’s a smart woman with great ideas. Yes, I know she went to prison. Yes, I’ve heard she can be not so nice at times. But I don’t know her as a person, my opinion of her is based solely on the fabulous things that she comes up with – and let’s face it, they really are fabulous. They’re GOOD THINGS right? (Any Martha fans get that reference!)
A couple of years ago I wrote a review on a Martha Stewart recipe that I made that turned out wonderfully. Whenever I find recipes, I can’t leave them alone. I usually change at least one thing about them, and usually several – because there are certain things my family likes or dislikes, or things that I think might be better. This Martha Stewart cheesecake recipe was great, but I needed little individual cheesecakes instead, so I improvised.
Because of the comment I made and the changes I made, I get a TON of emails requesting the changes, so I thought I would put the information here instead. Every year in September and October the emails flood in for the information, so here it is!
Click on the link above for the actual full recipe, but here are my changes.
These changes made about 24 mini cheesecakes, although I filled them all the way to the top. If you filled them less you could make more…
Crust: I couldn’t find chocolate wafers, so I used Oreos. (My son wanted the Halloween ones!) Because of the cream filling, I omitted the sugar. Because they were going into cupcake cups instead of a huge cheesecake, I omitted the other ingredients as well – the crust didn’t need to be super rigid. I chopped the Oreos (about 15 of them) and spooned some of the chopped crumbs into each cupcake cup. The cheesecake on top held the crust together, the butter was unnecessary.
Ganache: I made this exactly as the recipe said, and spooned a little into each cupcake on top of the crust. I thought I could omit it but it really made a difference, the bittersweet chocolate really added something!
Filling: I made this with the same ingredients in the recipe, although I don’t have two mixer bowls so I did the order a little differently. I wasn’t about to empty the mixer bowl of the cream cheese mixture, wash it out, then do the cream separately. SO even though the recipe states to do them separately and then fold together, I did it all together. This is just how I roll… less dishes right? I whipped the cream cheese, sugar, salt and lemon juice as the recipe says. Then I put the mixer on low, and added the cream slowly. Once all of the cream was added in, I whipped the entire mixture for about 3 minutes, until it was very fluffy. Because I did cupcake cups instead, I put the mixture into a gallon sized baggie and cut a medium hole in the corner (makeshift pastry bag) and filled the cups with the filling. Doing it that way was SO much easier than spooning it into the cups!
Tops: I tried doing the spider web but because the cupcakes are so much smaller, I did a small dot of ganache on each cupcake, and put a plastic spider on top of the ganache. The spider web just didn’t turn out very well on the smaller cakes. You could do any variety of toppings though. My 4-year-old made these with me and he was thrilled that his job was to put the spiders on top. Or you could sprinkles, or any number of things. I’ve even seen little eyeballs at stores, there are a ton of decorations that can be added.
So here’s the order of the stuff I put into the cupcake cups: crust, ganache, filling, a touch of ganache on top, spider.
They were the hit of the party!
The sugar wasn’t grainy at all. I did freeze it because I only had an hour between when I finished the cheesecakes and when I had to go to the party, so that was the quickest way to set them.
Low fat milk substitute could definitely make it runny… unfortunately with certain recipes you just can’t substitute to lower the fat or calories. I did take the butter out of the crust, so that helps. But this is really a decadent recipe, and I don’t think that low fat or low calorie will cut it!