It has become increasingly obvious that I like food in miniature. (This fascination stops with food…I was steadfast in my refusal to go to Miniature World when visiting Victoria…I don’t understand it and I never will.) When I look back at my posts, “mini” quite often makes an appearance. Mini is fun. Mini is cute. Mini means you can eat more. Five mini desserts don’t have nearly the caloric value of one regular dessert, right? (Just nod your head and we’ll keep pretending that’s true.)
More calories or not, I find that I can pack away much more food in miniature. It’s so easy to pop bite-size morsels into your mouth. When going out to eat I would much rather order many appetizer courses to share than one main dish. I like being able to try lots of different things that don’t necessarily have to “go-together.” This explains my love of cocktail parties, tapas, and miniature long-haired dachshunds. (Okay…maybe it doesn’t explain the dachshund thing.)
A few weeks ago via Twitter, Pepperidge Farm announced that it was “I Am In Control Day," and asked which of their products made you lose control. I replied that for me, an entire package of Milano cookies could disappear in a very short time. Much to my surprise, I was contacted about their new Milano Melts cookie. Yes, of course I would like to try them!!! And as I seem to be doing with all the products I’ve been receiving lately, I decided to grind them up in the food processor and turn them into something miniature. Now don’t get me wrong, these cookies are good on their own…I just like to come up with different uses for things. Which brings me to my Milano Melts inspired dessert…
Chocolaty Cookie Crumb Mini Cheesecakes
Makes 2 mini cheesecakes
5 Milano Melts cookies (dark classic crème)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 Milano Melts cookies (dark classic crème), divided use
6 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
For the crust, put the cookies in a mini food processor and grind into a fine crumb. Transfer into a small bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter. Combine until all cookie crumbs are coated in butter. Press half the mixture into each tart pan, pressing the crust slightly up the sides. Bake on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. (To make ahead, let cool completely and seal in an airtight bag. I made the crusts the day before I filled them.)
For the filling, grind cookies in a mini food processor, then remove about 2 tablespoons of the cookie crumbs. Reserve for topping.
To the remaining cookie crumbs, add the cream cheese, egg and sugar. Process until well blended. Pour the filling into the tart shells and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 24-26 minutes until middle is set. Remove from oven and let cool on rack before transferring to refrigerator. Let chill for at least 6 hours before serving. (More is fine.)
I really feel that I am my harshest critic, but I have to tell you, these were pretty damn good! I think I get more excited about my desserts that come out well because I absolutely DO NOT understand the science of baking, so when I stumble upon something that works, I am thrilled.
Now, I know these are cheater cheesecakes and don’t employ all the standard cheesecake techniques, but hey, they taste great and are super cute! Each bite has a chocolaty cookie goodness, and only a slight cream cheese flavor, making them not nearly as rich as standard cheesecake because of their lighter texture. They are creamy and dreamy and I could eat an entire mini cheesecake in one sitting without regretting it one bit. In fact, I may have done just that.
(Thanks to Pepperidge Farm for sending me these Milano Melts to try out. Although these cookies were complimentary, all opinions are my own.)