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Thursday, July 28,2011

Mini Blueberry Almond Cheesecakes

By Danette Randall
I guess I shouldn’t complain about fitting into my swimsuit when I’m busting out desserts that nowhere have sugar-free, low-fat or fat-free in the title.

See, I always say eat one, not 10.

You’re a grown-up, and you should have that little thing in your brain that signals down to your stomach, “Step away from the dessert.” I guess sometimes those signals malfunction, just like the little thing in my brain that never tells me when to stop drinking my wine (I must have that looked at). So this week, although it’s not going to be low-fat, it’s going to be in nice little portion-controlled pieces. How does Mini Blueberry Almond Cheesecakes grab ya? Sounds great, right?

One little way to help with the sugar and fat is making these little babies crustless. I know sometimes the crust is the best part, but in this case, you will enjoy them sans crust, or my name isn’t Bill O’ Reilly. Wait … that’s not my name, and he is just crusty, not crustless. Bad example. How about: You will love them crustless, or I will never enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir again. Now them’s fighting words.

I guarantee you will love these. It’s a basic cheesecake recipe. A touch of sour cream mixed into the batter adds richness, and that little bit of tang that is perfect when combining cheesecake with fruit. And then there’s the blueberries. Man, do I love blueberries with my cheesecake — it might be the combo of the year. The slightly sweet, creamy cake mixed with the plump blueberries adds that flavor that only fresh blueberries can add.

I become weak within earshot of this combo, and eating one (not 10) is the only remedy. Besides tasting fab, they also look adorable, and it’s a well-known fact that people love adorable food. Did you know that? See, you learn something new every day.

After the batter is all whipped up, it’s divided between cupcake holders, topped with blueberries and toasted almonds and then baked to perfection. When all is said and done, you have the perfect little cheesecake cupcake. I’m leaving it up to you to control your natural instincts to eat the whole batch. Maybe that’s just my instinct, and I’m projecting my problem onto you. If you can stop at one, more power to you. If you need to eat five or six in one sitting, well, then, you’re my people. Let’s meet for a dozen donuts.

Now, follow the directions, put some love into it, and invite me over when it’s done.

Mini Blueberry Almond Cheesecakes

16 ounces softened cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 tbsp. flour

1 1/4 cup blueberries

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-count muffin tin with baking cups.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sour cream and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add in almond extract and flour, beat until mixture is smooth and well combined.

Divide cheesecake batter between 12 muffin cups. Top each mini cheesecake with blueberries and toasted almonds.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (23 minutes was perfect in my oven) take out, cool completely. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or longer) before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Enjoy!

Note: Toast almonds by laying out on baking sheet and baking for 5-7 minutes at 350.

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