(Family Features) Brighten up spring gatherings with a simple dessert inspired by the flavors of the season. Lemon, almond, vanilla and raspberry extracts give baked treats a fresh flair that matches the lively essence of spring.
“Friends and family will love these Easy Mini Cheesecakes,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. “Almond and vanilla give these individual treats a burst of rich flavor, while a fruit topping highlights the fresh ingredients of the season.”
To simplify preparation when making dessert for a gathering, take advantage of these ideas from the McCormick Kitchens:
- Make Ahead and Batch Bake: Double-batch the dessert recipe and vary the extracts to make two unique treats in one effort. For even more variety, try a simple substitution like using chocolate sandwich cookies in place of the vanilla wafers for the “crust.” Make day-of prep a spring breeze by preparing the recipe in advance and refrigerating it overnight.
- Bright Fruit Topping: Fresh fruits and berries make a simple, yet colorful topping for cake, ice cream and other desserts. Stir in 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar to 2 1/2 cups fruit for a sweet seasonal treat.
Easy Mini Cheesecakes
These luscious cheesecakes flavored with vanilla and almond extract are sized just right. Garnish with fresh fruit, lemon curd or melted chocolate swirls.
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
- 12 vanilla wafers
- 1. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and extracts; beat well. Place a wafer in bottom of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Spoon batter into each cup, filling 2/3 full.
- 2. Bake in preheated 325°F oven 22 to 24 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. (Mini cheesecakes will deflate in center upon cooling.)
- 3. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with desired toppings.
Makes 12 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Use 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract in place of almond extract. Use chocolate sandwich cookies in place of the vanilla wafers for the “crust.” If you don’t have fresh fruit, top cheesecakes with canned fruit such as cherry pie filling or mandarin orange segments.