Not too long ago, I saw Paula Deen make Peanut Butter Cheese Cake Minis. Has anyone seen this episode? Watching the show, I swear it looked like Paula used a mini-muffin pan, but the recipe calls for a standard-sized muffin pan. I was intent on trying to use the mini-sized tin, but my plans were on hold until I found some mini-muffin paper liners.
Finally, last weekend, at the farmer’s market, of all places, I found some mini-muffin-pan liners. I also found something else: teeny tiny peanut butter cups. Now, we’ve all seen the miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, but these teeny tiny ones are even smaller than those. Observe:
That’s a miniature peanut butter cup with a teeny tiny one sitting on top. See how much smaller they are? I picked some up, thinking they might come in handy.
My initial plan was to use the miniature peanut butter cups and the mini muffin pan. The miniature PB cups do fit in the mini muffin pan; however, I found that my paper liners were a bit smaller than the cups of the pan, and that the PB cups were a tad large for the liners. I didn’t trust the recipe to work well without using the liners—I thought it would be too hard to get the cheesecakes out in one piece—so what I decided to do, finally, was use the mini-muffin pan, the paper liners, and the teeny tiny peanut butter cups.
This method worked out well. I got cute little bite-sized cheesecakes with a chocolate-peanut-butter surprise inside. I will say though that, because these peanut butter cups were so tiny, their flavor was very subtle, so you could use two or three per cup if you want a stronger chocolate-peanut-butter flavor.
I made 24 of these tiny cheesecakes and still had some batter left over, so I decide to make some more in the standard-muffin size. Instead of using a muffin tin, though, I used silicone baking cups from Crate and Barrel. These are great because they don’t need to be greased and, when the cheesecakes are done baking, you can leave them right in the silicone cups for as long as you want, and they keep things nice and tidy. Plus, of course, they’re reusable.
The taste? Pretty sweet and pretty good. Plus, you could change this up a million ways. I’m thinking this recipe would work well using Oreos for the crust instead of graham crackers and a Hershey kiss in the center instead of a peanut butter cup. Yum! If you come up with any other tasty combinations, let me know.
Teeny Tiny Peanut-Butter-Cup Cheesecakes
Adapted from Peanut Butter Cheese Cake Minis
Makes 36 tiny cheesecakes (cooked in a mini-muffin pan)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
36 teeny tiny peanut-butter cups*
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
For crust: In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Press about 1 scant teaspoon of crust into the bottom of each muffin cup. (You can use a shot glass to help pack the crumbs down. If the crumbs stick to the bottom of the glass, cover the glass with one of your paper liners.) Put 1 tiny peanut-butter cup into the center of each crust.
Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Combine sugar and flour in a bowl, then add to cream cheese, a little at a time, beating well. Add vanilla and then eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Spoon cream cheese mixture over peanut butter cups and graham cracker crusts. Bake until just set, about 13 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.