It is that time of year again when you want to try something new for the love in your life. So naturally, strawberries and chocolate are by far the most popular. But, of course, the most common is the chocolate-covered strawberries that everyone is starting to advertise.
I always have a hard time picking out a gift for my husband. I sometimes take him out for dinner or make and bake a special dinner, but I struggle to find the perfect gift by buying a gift.
Ingredients You Will Need
- 7.5 ounces Honey Grahams
- ⅓ cup Butter unsalted
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar white
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- 16 ounces Cream cheese
- ¼ cup Sugar white
- ½ cup Condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 10 Strawberries
- 1.2 ounces Freeze-dried strawberries
- 2 drops Coloring gel ruby red
- ¼ cup Mini chocolate chips
How To Make My Cheesecake Bites
I wanted a cheesecake that you could hold in hand and walk around. Unfortunately, the standard graham crackers did not bake stiff enough to allow this function. So I went on a mission to find a graham cracker I could use. Believe it or not, the best one that I have discovered is gluten-free and made by Pamela's. They are dense and, when baked, hold together beautifully.
Creating The Bottom Crust
The first thing I do is spray PAM into an 8X8 or 9X9. Then line the inside with tin foil. You want two of the sides longer and wrapped over the ends. When the cheesecake is ready to be taken out of this pan, these long sides act as handles to pull the whole cheesecake out of the baking dish. Check for any tears in the tinfoil, just redo the lining if you spot one.
Next, using a food processor, crumble the whole package of Pamela's Honey Grahams. You want them to be a fine crumble. I let the food processor spin for at least 30 to 40 seconds.
Putting the graham cracker crumble into a bowl, add the melted butter and the sugar and combine. Now put the graham cracker mixture into the lined baking dish and spread the cracker mixture around the bottom. Then you want to use your hand and press down on the cracker mixture till it is a solid base. Don't forget the corners. Set this aside.
Making the Strawberry Filling
The strawberry filling has two types of strawberry flavoring; fresh and freeze-dried.
Again using the food processor (a food processor is your friend when making this recipe), take the whole bag of the freeze-dried strawberries and puree them to dust. I have a small size strainer that I sift the strawberry dust through to capture and get rid of any large pieces. Set this bowl aside.
Now for the fresh strawberries, you want to wash and dry. Next, cut off the tops and hull the strawberries. Hulling means cutting out the middle of the strawberry. Now puree the heck out of the strawberries with your food processor.
There are many seeds and pulp in strawberries, so using a large strainer, I go back and forth over the strawberry puree so that only the juice goes into the container under the strainer. I used ten strawberries for the puree, which produced about ¼ cup of clear strawberry juice.
Time to Make The Cheesecake Filling
Add the cream cheese and the sugar to a mixer bowl and mix for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add one egg at a time to the cream cheese and sugar mixture. Next, add the condensed milk and the vanilla extract.
I scrape down the side and add 2 heaping tablespoons of the freeze-dried strawberry powder. If you want a more strawberry flavor, you can add more. You also want to add the fresh strawberry juice, which should be about ¼ cup. Finally, I add 1 or 2 drops of red coloring gel (mine is called Ruby Red). Put one drop into the mixture, and if it is too light a pink, add another drop. I used two drops.
Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the pressed-down graham crackers. First, I give the baking dish a little wiggle to ensure the mixture is even. Then I gently drop the baking dish a few times to get the air bubble to surface. I am using a stoneware baking dish, so I am gentle with this step. Now I sprinkle on top the ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips.
Bake in a 325° oven for 40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to set. I change the plastic wrap after it has been in the fridge for 2 hours since condensation collects on the plastic wrap.
The next day lift the whole cheesecake up and out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board. Put one hand for support under the cheesecake and use the other hand to pull the tinfoil from the bottom of the crust gently.
I cut four columns down and then four across. So I get 16 pieces out of my cheesecake. But you can always make them the size that fits your needs. I hope you enjoy it!
Cheesecake should be stored covered in the refrigerator after serving to your guest. They can be left out for an hour, but you want to get them into the fridge as soon as possible.
Other Valentines Day Cookies
Strawberry and Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BitesBarbara Hall
- 1 Food Processor
- 1 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 Baking Dish
- 1 Strainer
- 1 Stand or Hand-Held Mixer
- 7.5 ounces (212.62 g) Honey Grahams 1 box Pamela's
- ⅓ cup (75.67 g) Butter unsalted melted
- 1 Tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) Sugar white
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) Cream cheese 2 bars
- ¼ cup (50 g) Sugar white
- ½ cup (153 g) Condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) Vanilla Extract
- 2 (2 ) Eggs
- 10 (10 ) Strawberries ¼ cup strawberry juice
- 1.2 ounces (34.02 g) Freeze-dried strawberries 2 heaping Tablespoons
- 2 drops (2 drops) Coloring gel ruby red
- ¼ cup (45 g) Mini chocolate chips
- Using a food processor, finely chop the whole box of Pamela's Honey Grahams and transfer it to a bowl. Add the sugar and the melted butter to the graham crackers and mix them.
- Spray an 8X8 or 9X9 baking dish with Pam or something similar. Line the baking dish with tinfoil. Wrap two opposite ends over the edge with the tinfoil; you will use these as handles when pulling the cheesecake out of the baking dish. Add the graham cracker mix and press firmly across the whole bottom of the baking dish. Set the baking dish aside.
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- Take the bag of freeze-dried strawberries and add them to a food processor; you want to chop them until they are dust consistency. Then, take a small strainer and sift out the large pieces. Next, clean and hull the fresh strawberries and chop them in a food processor. Fresh strawberries have a lot of seeds, so you want to strain the strawberry puree also. You should get about ¼ of a cup of just strawberry juice. Set both the strawberry freeze-dried and the juice aside.
- Add the cream cheese and sugar to a mixer bowl and blend on medium speed for 2 minutes. Next, add one egg at a time till incorporated. Next, scrape down the bowl, add the condensed milk, vanilla extract, freeze-dried strawberries (2 heaping Tablespoons), strawberry juice (about ¼ cup), and blend thoroughly. Finally, add the coloring gel. You can start with one drop; add the second drop if it is too light a pink color.
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the graham cracker crust. Jiggle a little to even out the filling. I drop my baking dish gently to bring any air bubbles to the surface. *Next, take the mini chocolate chip and spread them evenly over the top of the filling. Bake for 40 minutes and give the cheesecake a gentle jiggle, and it should just move slightly. Allow the cheesecake to cool before covering and putting it into the refrigerator overnight.
- Lift the whole cheesecake up and out of the baking dish using the tinfoil as handles. Putting one hand under the cheesecake, pull the tinfoil away from the crust. It comes off easily. Set the cheesecake on a cutting board. You can cut the sizes to meet your needs, but I do four columns and then cut each column into four pieces. Serve with whip cream, chocolate-covered strawberries, or whatever makes it your cheesecake.