Spring is finally here, and with that breath of fresh air come holidays of renewal and celebration. If you're looking for an easy dessert to serve at home or transport to family get togethers, this is the perfect one. You can top these with just about anything, including assorted jams such as apricot or blackberry.
20 paper cupcake liners
1 and 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lb. low-fat cream cheese, room temperature (2 bricks/8 oz. each)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in your muffin tin. I found these designer paper liners at a local craft store, and think they really make these little cheesecakes extra special.
Now, when recipes call for vanilla extract, I like to use vanilla beans. They have a strong, vanilla flavor, and I like the little black specks I can see in the batter. It reminds me of authentic vanilla bean ice cream. If you don't like those little specks in your cheesecake, or don't want to buy vanilla beans, by all means use extract. But use real extract, not imitation. If you want to try the beans, just take a paring knife and slice the bean down the side. You can open it up, and see a thick, black gooey paste-like substance.
Gently scrape the paste out with the edge of the paring knife, and mix it right into the batter, (or use extract at this point). One last mixing and we're ready to fill the crusts. Using a tablespoon, fill each cup about 3/4 full. These will puff up a bit when you bake them, but will sink down again as they cool.