Black Forest Mini Cheesecakes
For the crust:
12 Oreo cookies, crushed
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa powder
1/8 t. salt
12 oz. (1 1/2 pkg.) cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 c. heavy cream, chilled
2 T. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. gelatin
1 T. water
cherry pie filling (I used about a half of a 21 oz. can)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together crushed Oreos and melted butter. Line a standard sized muffin tin with paper liners. Add a heaping tablespoon of the cookie crumb mixture to each liner, press with the back of a spoon to form the crust. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool while preparing the filling.
2. In a small bowl stir together sugar, cocoa powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl add soften cream cheese and sugar/cocoa mix. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth, add melted chocolate, heavy cream and sour cream, beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well after each, then add in vanilla. Tap the bowl on the counter firmly a couple of times to release any air bubbles.
3. Divide batter between the cupcake liners (liners will be full). Tap the pan a couple of times to be sure there are no large air bubble. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the centers jiggle just slightly. (Original recipe called for baking time of 17-20 minutes, mine were done at the 15 minute mark.) Remove pan from oven, let cool at room temp. for 1 hour. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until fully cooled before topping.
4. Top the cheesecakes: In a medium bowl whisk together heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Place the bowl in the refrigerator, along with the beaters from your mixer, for 10-15 minutes to get everything well chilled. Add gelatin to a small bowl, add water. When gelatin absorbs all the water microwave for about 10 seconds to heat and melt the gelatin and make it pourable. Set aside to cool a bit. Beat the cream until just before it reaches soft peak stage, check your gelatin to be sure it has cooled slightly but is still a pourable consistency (if it solidified, just pop it back in the microwave for a couple seconds). With the mixer running, slowly pour in the gelatin and finish whipping the cream to soft peak stage.
5. Top the cakes with a generous spoon full of the whipped cream, using the back of a spoon make a little nest indentation in the top for the cherry filling. Add a spoon full of the cherry filling and you're done.