We have a New Years tradition in our house. Well, it begins a few weeks before New Years. And it always brings me back to the very start of this here blogging adventure.
My first post (well, the first actual food post) was about the first ever gingerbread house that we made. It's crazy to look at that post now and think that the little three and a half year old girl helping me out is now a big first grader. And a big sister... But that first gingerbread house is what started our tradition. Each holiday season we bake and build a house and little miss decorates it with as much candy as she can.
Then on New Years Day, we break it apart, letting out all the joy, love and luck that was baked and built into it, filling our home with all sorts of positive energies for the year ahead. Fun and constructive while also being fun and destructive (breaking apart that house can be hard!)
Okay, so come New Years Day afternoon, we were trying to figure out what to bring for dessert to the family's traditional pork and sauerkraut and lentil dinner. Daddy wanted cheesecake, which made me think of this awesome, delicious looking gingerbread version I'd seen the week before. But it called for gingerbread cookie crumbs for the crust. I lamented to daddy that I wished I had some leftover gingerbread cookies to crush up in order to make this. And he looked at me like I was crazy. "Shell," he said, "you have so much baked gingerbread just waiting for you!" and he pointed to the battered, broken, good-luck house on the table.
Crust ready, it was time for the filling. The recipe in the link above looked good, but after doing all of those Willow Bird Baking challenges, I know that Juile's basic cheesecake recipe is an absolute winner, so I just adapted that for the gingerbread flavor by adding molasses and traditional gingerbread spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove). Worked like a charm.
Rather than bake a large cheesecake, we made this individual-sized by using a muffin tin rather than the usual springform pan.
I am not sure what went wrong in the baking process - if it had something to do with the reduced size or what, but all of my mini cheesecakes cracked and sank.
But aside from that, they were absolutely perfect. Silky smooth texture plus delicious gingerbread flavor. Talk about a win-win!
Everyone really enjoyed them, and even asked to keep some of the leftovers!
Now, the recipe as I made it made both more crust and more filling than I needed for the twelve-well cupcake pan that I used, so I baked up the extra in a pie plate.
Next time I really want to make a full sized version of this, but these were the perfect dessert for the end of the holidays. And what a delicious way to share the good luck our our gingerbread tradition with the rest of the family!
(inspired by That Winsome Girl, cheesecake base based on Willow Bird Baking)
for the crust:
2 cups gingerbread cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter with cookie crumbs until all crumbs are moistened. Scoop into wells of muffin tin and use a small cup (shot glass?) to press the crumbs in and shape them up the sides to create mini crusts. Alternately, you can press it into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. Bake for 6-10 minutes to set. Allow to cool.
for the cheesecake:
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
a dash of ground nutmeg
a dash of ground cloves
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended. Beat in the flour and spices. Add in the vanilla and molasses, and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Pour or scoop (if doing the mini version) the filling into your prepared and cooled crust(s).
Bake for about 40 minutes - the top(s) will be lightly browned and may have cracked.
Allow to cool completely and chill for a few hours in the refrigerator.