With gluten-free ginger snap cookies as their base, these mini cheesecakes are easy and delicious.
A classic cheesecake is creamy, smooth and slightly dense without cloying sweetness. The simple ingredients have integrity: cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla. An honest cheesecake wouldn’t disgrace itself by being smothered in a sickeningly sweet strawberry sauce.
Preparation of these mini gluten-free cheesecakes — adapted from Bette Hagman’s Gluten-Free Gourmet cookbook — is as simple as the ingredients. Gluten-free ginger snap cookies serve as the base. (I usually use Mi-Del gluten-free ginger snaps or Trader Joe’s gluten-free ginger snaps.) A light creamy topping conveniently hides any cracks in the top of the cheesecakes.
These cute-as-a-cupcake treats are a perfect dairy dessert for Shavuot. On Shavuot, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah, dairy foods traditionally are eaten.
For other dairy Shavuot recipes, check out the Kosher Connection bloggers by clicking on the icon below. Please note that not all of the recipes are gluten-free.
Mini Gluten-Free Cheesecakes
By Gluten-Free Nosh
- 12 gluten-free ginger snap cookies (or other small, round gluten-free cookies)
- 2 (8-ounce) packages reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or other garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Place a ginger snap cookie, flat side down, into the bottom of each cup.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until well-combined, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating just until each egg is incorporated and there are no lumps (you don’t want the batter to be too airy). Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- Pour batter into lined muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the centers are mostly firm; remove from the oven.
- Prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon of yogurt mixture onto the top of each mini cheesecake. Return pan to the oven and bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes until topping is set.
- Immediately garnish the mini cheesecakes with fresh raspberries, sliced strawberries or any other topping that hits your fancy. Refrigerate mini cheesecakes for at least 1 hour before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes
Strawberry-vanilla tart in macaroon shell, gluten-free
Here’s a simple dessert that’s gluten-free and kosher for Passover. Use macaroons to make a crisp tart shell, top with a quick vanilla pudding and layer with sliced strawberries. With only a little bit of effort you’ll have an elegant strawberry-vanilla tart in a macaroon shell — perfect for this month’s Kosher Connection challenge to create a Passover dessert.
I strongly recommend making the dessert in a tart pan, not a pie dish. When I first made it in a pie dish, it didn’t cut into pretty slices. With a tart pan, you can remove the sides and keep the tart on the pan’s metal base, or you can slide a knife under the tart and transfer it to a serving plate. One other caveat: After it’s been cut into, this tart does not keep well because the pudding seeps out. So once you start it, it’s best to finish it that day.
The recipe is gluten-free and kosher for Passover. If you want to make a dairy-free strawberry macaroon tart, omit the pudding, pile the macaroon crust full of sliced strawberries and brush the top with melted strawberry jam.
Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell
(gluten-free, kosher for Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Print this recipe
- 1 (10-ounce) can macaroons
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides.
- Chop macaroons finely in a food processor. Pour in melted butter and process until crumbs start to come together. Press macaroon crumbs into bottom and sides of the tart pan. Put the tart shell on a baking sheet, slide into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm.
- For the vanilla pudding, mix together sugar, potato starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in a small amount of the milk (about 1/4 cup) and whisk to form a smooth paste. Pour in the rest of the milk and stir well.
- Cook pudding over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it thickens and bubbles around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let pudding cool for 5 minutes, then pour it into macaroon tart shell while still warm. Top with sliced strawberries arranged in concentric circles and refrigerate.
Yield: 8 servings
For more Passover desserts, check out this month’s Kosher Connection link-up. Please be aware that not all desserts listed are gluten-free. Click on the frog icon for links to other great blogs:
We celebrated my older daughter’s birthday recently with a four-layer gluten-free chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache frosting and filling. I have to admit, it looked and tasted amazing.
I recently took a baking boot camp at Kendall College in Chicago, which gave me inspiration for creating this cake. In the class, we made an opera cake, but my daughter wanted chocolate, so I improvised from there. I started with my favorite King Arthur gluten-free chocolate cake mix. I don’t usually use mixes, but the King Arthur cake is so intensely moist and fudgy that it always elicits raves from kids and adults.
To make chocolate ganache, heat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a saucepan until the cream starts to steam. Then pour the cream over 10 ounces of semisweet or dark chocolate chips. Wait two minutes, then stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Set aside some ganache for frosting the top of the cake. Whip the rest in a stand mixer to make whipped chocolate ganache for the filling.
To make the thin layers, I baked the cake for 15 to 18 minutes in a jelly roll pan or half-sheet pan (18 x 13 x 1-inch) lined with parchment paper. I then cut the cooled cake into four equal-sized rectangles, stacked the layers on top of each other while smoothing whipped chocolate ganache between the layers, and topped it with chocolate ganache that had not been whipped. For a distinctive presentation, freeze the cake for 30 minutes and then evenly trim the sides.
Now that’s a happy birthday!
Homemade peanut butter cups -- naturally gluten-free!
Recently, I made gluten-free Girl Scouts Tagalong cookies, or peanut butter pattties. We had leftover peanut butter filling, so my daughters and I decided to make homemade peanut butter cups, like miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups — naturally gluten-free and naturally delicious!
My friend Chris had sent me a recipe for homemade chocolate candy cups, with a choice of either a peanut butter or peppermint filling, and I realized we could adapt her recipe using our leftovers. I had previously bought some mini baking cups (like miniature cupcake liners) at the dollar store, so we had all the ingredients on hand for this easy gluten-free chocolate candy.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, Gluten-Free
By Gluten-Free Nosh
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used processed peanut butter, not natural peanut butter)
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, powdered sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips or dairy-free chocolate chips
- mini baking cups or candy cup liners, about 1.25-inches in diameter
- Place mini baking cups in a mini muffin tin. (Note: It is fine if the mini baking cups are smaller than the muffin tin compartments.)
- In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt until well combined. Use your hands to roll peanut butter mixture into 1/2-inch balls; roll balls quickly so your hands don’t get sticky. Set balls aside on a plate.
- Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute on half-power (such as power level 5). Stir chocolate thoroughly. If not melted, pop bowl in the microwave for subsequent 30-second intervals, stirring until chocolate is melted.
- Place a dollop of melted chocolate in the bottom of the mini baking cups, so the chocolate covers the bottom of the cup. Drop peanut butter balls in the middle of the mini baking cups. Spoon dollops of melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter balls. The melted chocolate should surround the sides and top of the peanut butter balls, evenly covering the peanut butter and leaving a smooth chocolate top.
- Stick the mini muffin tin in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, so the chocolate hardens. Enjoy your homemade candy!
Yield: I’m sorry — I forgot to note the yield, but it probably makes around 20 to 24 mini peanut butter cups.