Be the hero of Easter brunch with adorable, delicious, mini cheesecakes! The shredded coconut nests with robin eggs have a wow factor. They’re loved by children and adults.
VANILLA WAFER CRUST
- 1 11-ounce box vanilla wafers (about 80 cookies)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
- 3 packages (8 oz each) brick cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Lemon zest – from 1 small lemon
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, packed
- 72 Mini Cadbury Eggs
VANILLA WAFER CRUST
RECIPE PREP: Line wells of 2 cupcake pans with paper baking cups.
- Add vanilla wafers and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to grind the cookies into crumbs. [No food processor? Pound the cookies into crumbs inside a zip-top bag by pounding them with the back of a metal measuring cup.]
- Add sugar to the bowl. Pulse briefly. Add melted butter. Pulse until incorporated. Turn off machine and remove the blade. With a rubber spatula, scrape down bottom and sides of the bowl. [If no food processor, add cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter to a bowl. Mix well.]
- Spoon just under 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla wafer crust into each well of the prepared cupcake pans. With the bottom of a shot glass, press the crust firmly in place.
MINI CHEESECAKE FILLING
RECIPE PREP: Adjust the top oven rack to the center position. Place second rack below it. Preheat oven to 325°F. [Save time: toast shredded coconut on a baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes while prepping cheesecake batter.]
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese for 4 to 5 minutes, until light, fluffy, and smooth with no lumps. This is very important. Don’t shorten the beating time.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sugar. Beat briefly after each addition. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula. Add salt, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix briefly. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing briefly after each – just until blended. Don’t over-mix.
- Spoon cheesecake batter over the crusts. Start by filling each crust with 2 tablespoons of batter. Then divide remaining batter between the mini cheesecakes. The paper liners will be almost full. Tap the pan on the counter several times to remove air bubbles. You may see some tiny bubbles rising to the surface and then popping.
- Put a shallow pan with hot water on the bottom oven rack. Place cheesecakes on the top rack in the center of the oven. Bake 18 to 20 minutes (see info below). Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate cheesecakes in the baking pan for 2 hours or up to 1 day.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN CHEESECAKE BITES ARE DONE: You can’t use a cake tester! Instead, you’ll have to eyeball these mini desserts. They’re done when the edges are set and the tops are slightly puffed, rounded, smooth, and supple. The centers will slightly deflate as they cool.
DECORATE EASTER CHEESECAKE BITES
- Remove the paper cupcake liners from the chilled cheesecakes.
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of toasted shredded coconut (see “Notes” for how to toast it) to the top of each mini cheesecake. Shape it to resemble a bird’s nest.
- Fill each nest with 3 chocolate candy eggs.
HOW TO TOAST SHREDDED COCONUT: Adjust oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 325° F. Spread out the coconut in an even layer on a baking tray. Bake 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until golden blonde. Remove from oven. Let it cool.
HOW TO BRING EGGS TO ROOM TEMPERATURE: Fill a bowl with warm tap water. Make sure it’s warm, not hot. We don’t want to accidentally cook the eggs. Gently place eggs in water. Keep them submerged for 5 to 10 minutes until room temp.
HOW TO SOFTEN CREAM CHEESE: Remove 8-ounce block of cream cheese from its foil wrapper. Put unwrapped cheese on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 15 seconds, or until softened. Another method: place the cream cheese (in its un-punctured foil wrapper) in a bowl of warm tap water for 15 minutes. For even softening, turn the block over every 5 minutes.
HOW LONG DOES CHEESECAKE LAST? When stored in the fridge in an air-tight container, cheesecake will last 3 to 4 days. For food safety, if it’s been out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, it must be discarded. This includes mini cheesecake bites.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cheesecake Bites, Mini Cheesecakes, Easter Dessert, Easter Cheesecake