Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cherry Cheesecake Brownie Bites

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These tiny little layered treats are such an amazing party treat or any-time dessert. The best way to describe them would be if a batch of brownies, a cheesecake and a cherry pie all fell into a mini cupcake pan and had babies in the oven. They are THAT good! The buttery brown sugar crust is layered with a fudgy chocolate brownie center, topped with rich, creamy cheesecake filling and finished off with a sweet cherry topping... pure decadence! 


The texture of crunchy, chewy, creamy and smooth layers of goodness will feel like a party in your mouth with these 2-bite treats. You can even use boxed brownie mix and canned cherry pie filling for a more simple "semi-homemade" alternative with the same stunning presentation!






Cherry Cheesecake Brownie Bites

Yield: 2 dozen mini brownies bites

Ingredients

Crust:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Fudge Brownie layer:
  • 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2.5oz semi-sweet chocolate (may sub bittersweet or dark), chopped or chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch process or dark
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg 
Cream cheese layer:
  • 1 (8oz. package) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
Cherry Topping (homemade recipe below or use canned Lucky Leaf Premium cherry pie filling):
  • 3 cups (about 1 1/2-2 lbs.) fresh sweet cherries, pitted and very ripe
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water (the more ripe your cherries are the less water you will need)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions

Prepare crust:
In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press a heaping teaspoon of crust into each of the mini baking cups. 

Prepare brownie layer:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a mini cupcake pan with 24 mini baking cups. In a small bowl combine flour and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Over low heat add the chocolate, cocoa and sugar, stirring until smooth and sugar has started to dissolve. Remove from heat and stir for a about minute to cool mixture. Add the oil, vanilla and egg. Stir vigorously for about 1-2 minutes until batter is no longer grainy and becomes thick, smooth and shiny. Gently fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Spoon batter into prepared cups on top of crust. 

Prepare cream cheese layer: 
Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, and egg and beat until incorporated. Spoon on top of brownie batter. 
Bake for about bake 10-15 minutes an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Do not over bake. Cool on a wire rack.

Prepare cherry topping: 
Use canned pie filling or Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stirring constantly, cook until cherry mixture has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix thoroughly and let cool/thicken. Spoon over cheesecake brownie bites.

  
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