Cheesecake. Mini. That means your very own. Personal. Cheesecake.
I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like cheesecake. Have you? Cheesecake has been popular for eons. Literally. Cheesecake in one form or the other dates clear back to Ancient Greece. In fact, around 5 BC Greek physician Aeqimus even wrote a cookbook on the art of making cheesecakes. Seriously! You don't believe me, do you? It's true. Here's the name of the book:
Okay, I know most of you don't speak Greek as fluently as I do, so here's the Western phonetic pronunciation: Plakountopoiikon Suggramma.
That loosely translates to "A Treatise On The Art of Making Cheesecake."
You still don't believe me. *Sigh* Okay, I was just kidding about speaking Greek. But the part about the cookbook is true! Look it up.
Okay, back to the recipe at hand. These mini Mandarin cheesecakes get an extra "oomph" of citrus flavor from the tangy orange zest mixed in the batter. The subtle hint of cinnamon from Cinnamon Toast Crunch complements the orange flavor nicely. You'll love 'em!
The ingredients. To get started, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the Cinnamon Toast Crunch crumbs with the melted butter in a bowl.
Line a regular-sized muffin tin with cupcake liners. Press a little less than two tablespoons of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese until smooth and no lumps remain. Make sure it's at room temperature! Add the sugar and continue to beat until combined and fluffy, another couple of minutes.
Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat on low just until combined. Be careful not to over-beat or the cheesecakes will crack and sink! That's the part Aeqimus was working on just before he died. Fortunately, future bakers picked up from where he left off and discovered this ever-important key to successful cheesecake baking.
Spoon about three tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture into each cupcake liner. Bake for 12 minutes, then turn off the oven and let the cheesecakes remain inside the oven for another 10 minutes. Don't open the oven at any point or the cheesecakes will sink in the middle! That was Aeqimus' final breakthrough discovery before his untimely death.
Add some whipped cream on top of the cheesecakes and top with a mandarin orange.
P.S. Remember, it was a physician who wrote the first cookbook on cheesecakes! That's gotta be a good sign.
Oh, and this ancient Greek physician also wrote the first book on the human pulse. His legacy: Pulse and Cheesecake. Pulse and Cheesecake. The thought of cheesecake increases my pulse rate – the man was onto something!
Kimberly is aspiring to fluency in ancient Greek. She's concurrently applying for funding for a research design on the correlation between cardio health and cheesecake consumption. Feel free to make a donation to further this scientific study at her food blog, The Daring Gourmet.