I have a little confession: I was always scared to bake a cheesecake. I am not sure why, really. I guess I just assumed it was tricky, required a special pan, and was going to taste bad. But none of those things are true. This simple recipe for mini cheesecake bites is my proof. I am so glad I decided to develop this recipe because it was easy and the reward was delicious!
I wanted to come up with a creative dessert that was easy to make but would impress guests at our recent family dinner party. I like being able to serve bite-sized desserts on a platter so guests can take one (or two) and pass them around. This also works out really well for the dishwasher, because there is less to clean up after everyone has gone home.
Gather a few ingredients and get ready to bake (you’ll find the full recipe below). Don’t be intimidated (like I was) at the idea of making your own cheesecake from scratch. I promise it wasn’t difficult and it tastes way much better than the no bake-versions I had tried in the past. The star is the Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is made with, fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives – nothing else tastes like it.
See, no special pan! I simply lined an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to let it overhang about 2″ on each side so you can later “lift” the baked cheesecake out of the dish. If your parchment paper isn’t big enough, just use two pieces that criss-cross the pan. The bottom part of the dish will be your graham cracker crust layer. Then, you’ll pour in the creamy cheesecake mixture on top before putting it in the oven.
It bakes low and slow for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. This ensures your cheesecake top doesn’t crack. But don’t worry too much about it even if it does because you’re going to top it with drizzled chocolate and candy bar pieces so no one will even notice.
While it’s baking, cut your favorite candy bars into bite-sized pieces. You’ll use these for your cheesecake toppings. You’ll need about 48 pieces.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then place it in the freezer for another hour, (be sure to cover it with plastic wrap first). This cools it down so it can harden a bit, which will help you cut the cheesecake into nice 1-inch pieces.
Once you have cut your pieces, add a drop of chocolate sauce or fudge to each piece and then place a candy bar on top. That’s it. Easy, right?
Place these mini cheesecake bites on a platter or use a cake stand. I promise, they won’t last long!
Serves: 16 Servings when a serving equals 3 pieces
For the crust
1½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
2 eggs at room temperature
2 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Bricks, softened, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Topping
5 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
48 Candy bar pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with overhung parchment paper.
For the crust. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture in the pan and press firmly into an even layer.
For the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (I used the paddle attachment in a stand mixer but you could also use a hand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch, eggs and vanilla, beating to combine well after each ingredient is added. The mixture should be very smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Place in the center of the oven and bake until just set (about 30 minutes). You’ll know it’s set when it doesn’t jiggle in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before covering the pan with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer for an additional hour to harden up.
To Make The Bites. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, uncover and remove from the pan using the overhung parchment paper to “lift” it out. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 48 1-inch squares. Top each bite with a drop of chocolate sauce, then place a piece of candy bar on top of each one.
Looking for a fun family game? This DIY cactus ring toss was a huge hit with my family! We like to play games together often (and we’re also a pretty competitive group so it gets interesting), indoors or out. Since summer is winding down, we’ve been trying to play more outdoor games and that’s what inspired this DIY cactus ring toss game.
The cactus trend is still going strong and I thought making a cactus ring toss game just screamed summer–so viola! It was really easy to make. We were playing within 30 minutes of putting it together (it’s triple digits with a dry heat so the spray paint basically instantly dried). We put ours in a pot so you can technically play this indoors or out (or even take it to the park for a picnic). (more…)
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Setting up a build-your-own bagel bar might be the best idea I’ve had in a long time. It’s the perfect breakfast or brunch spread when entertaining (think book club, bridal shower, baby shower), or when hosting out of town guests. Imagine your in-laws waking up to this spread! The whole thing really looks and feels so fancy when in reality it all takes only about ten minutes to set up (and requires zero cooking!). But, you don’t have to tell anyone that.
Plus, with a variety of toppings, there is sure to be something for everyone.
I like the idea of using mini bagels because then you can make a few different versions and get creative with your toppings without having to commit to a full bagel and be too stuffed to go back for another.
I also opted not to toast the bagels (if you can’t get on board with that I totally understand) because I like them a little soft and not warm when I pile my toppings on. You can set a toaster nearby if you want to give guests the option to toast theirs.
The secret to a good build-your-own-bagel creation is a good base of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It’s Spread it on the bagel before you add your toppings. Made with fresh milk, real cream and no preservatives, nothing else tastes like Philadelphia Cream Cheese so be sure to be generous with it.
In the next step you just can’t go wrong–add as many or as few toppings as you’d like.
My advice is to make a couple different creations and experiment with the flavors. My favorite combo ended up being topping my bagel and cream cheese with smoked salmon, cucumber, red onion, and chives. YUM. You really can’t ever go wrong with avocado either if I’m being honest.
What do you think? Ready to impress guests with this easy bagel bar idea?
Serves: 8 Servings (One serving equals one mini bagel or two halves)
8 Mini bagels
8 oz PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick, softened
1 Avocado, sliced
18 Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
½ Red inion, thinly sliced
1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
8-ounce Smoked salmon
Fresh dill and chives for garnish
The purpose here is to have guests create their own bagels adding their favorite toppings. So, you’ll want to set out all the ingredients in a nice spread. Remove the softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick and place it in a bowl so guests can easily spread the cream cheese on their bagels. If the bagels are not already pre-sliced, you’ll want to slice them ahead of time. Set all of the other ingredients out in small bowls or on platters.
For all of your entertaining needs, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my build-your-own bagel bar
for out of town guests. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.
If you’re looking for a simple appetizer to make this summer, try these cream cheese stuffed peppers. You’ll need just a few ingredients, they require no cooking, and (I promise) you can’t mess them up! Easy, foolproof, and delicious? Cheers to that!
Another reason that I love this recipe? These peppers are so colorful which means they look gorgeous on a platter. This makes them perfect for entertaining. Whether it’s hosting game night or a family dinner, this appetizer looks as good as it tastes. I also love that you can make these up to a day ahead of time (if you’re expecting guests) but can also whip them up in ten minutes (should you have impromptu guests). I recently made this for a family game night and they were gone in a flash!
The first step is gathering your ingredients: mini sweet peppers, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, fresh dill, and fresh chives. Don’t grab the dried herbs here, fresh is the way to go. The flavors of the fresh herbs pop so well in the cream cheese.
I love when recipes are easy enough to remember without pulling out a cookbook or opening up Pinterest, don’t you?
Once you’ve gathered all of the ingredients, it’s time to whip them up. First, I start by making the cream cheese mixture. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is the base (and it’s delicious because it’s made with fresh milk and real cream and no preservatives), then you mix in the fresh dill and chives (see recipe below). Next, cut the sweet peppers by removing the stem and cutting them in half. Be sure to remove any seeds as well.
The final step is to simply spread the cream cheese mixture into the sweet pepper halves. Serve them on a platter and you’ve got yourself the perfect (and easiest) summer appetizer!
What do you think? Will you give these cream cheese stuffed peppers a try?
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
I’ve been on a donut-making kick lately because you can make so many variations and they are pretty easy to make. Especially if you’re like me and you take shortcuts. I love baking but don’t have a lot of time, so I often think of ways I can make recipes easier and faster. These strawberry shortcake donuts were so simple to whip up! I decided to make them for a brunch I recently had. A few friends and I gathered one Saturday morning to visit and have a little time just chatting over coffee. These donuts went perfectly with our tea and coffee, and they were simple enough to whip up that morning before guests arrived.
My secret weapon for homemade donuts is boxed cake mix. I pick a flavor (here I used pink velvet) and then jazz it up a little. By placing sliced strawberries right into the batter, I made these donuts seem extra special. (more…)
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
If you’ve never made olive cheese bread before, I hope this simple recipe changes your mind.
This recipe only has four ingredients, which makes it super simple to whip up the next time you have friends over. All you need is: bread, black and green olives, Monterey Jack cheese, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Why Philadelphia Cream Cheese, you ask? Because it’s made with fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives. I always have some on hand and nothing else tastes like it!
I use a food processor to turn the whole black and green olives into the perfectly diced olive confetti.
In a bowl, combine the diced olives, monterey jack cheese, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese and mix well. You can continue making the appetizer, or prepare the spread ahead of time and store (covered) in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the apps.
When ready, spread olive mixture onto small sliced of bread (about 1 tablespoon for each piece). Top with a little shredded monterey jack cheese. Pop them into an oven preheated at 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes.
These olive bread bites are great to serve to a crowd. Pass a tray around and everyone will be happy. The saltiness of the olives pairs perfectly with the natural and fresh taste of the cream cheese. So delicious!
1 8-oz. brick PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread, softened
Drain olives and finely chop them. In a medium bowl, mix olives, ¾ cup of the monterey jack cheese, and brick of cream cheese. Once mixed, spread one tablespoon onto each piece of bread. Top with a sprinkle of the remaining monterey jack cheese. Back on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
For quick and easy entertaining, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my Variety Crostini Platter for a get-together with friends. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.
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