Enjoy all the parts of a s'more in a mini cheesecake. Mini S'Mores Chocolate Cheesecakes have all the best parts of a campfire favorite - a crunchy graham crust, a creamy chocolate center, and sweet, gooey marshmallow fluff!
The appeal of S'Mores
Learned in childhood, the appreciation of s'mores has no age limit. There is something about the combination of a crunchy graham cracker, melty bittersweet chocolate, and a toasted (maybe charred), sticky marshmallow. While the treat is generally created over a campfire, the combination of flavors is very popular and replicated. Peruse the grocery store snack aisle and you will find more s'more flavored treats than you thought possible.
Salt and chocolate
A little salt can enhance sweetness by balancing the flavor of desserts. Like opposites attracting, the salty-sweet connection enriches the flavor of food. Salted caramel - an elixir from the gods! Sprinkle salt on a watermelon and the flavor pops.
Some combinations are a perfect match such as the duo of salt and chocolate. Salt will help minimize the bitterness of chocolate. Try a chocolate chip cookie with a light sprinkle of flaky salt. Think of a chocolate-covered pretzel. So good. Chocolate just tastes more chocolaty.
Mini S'More Chocolate Cheesecakes are composed of three layers just like the campfire treat. Layer #1 is the buttery, sugary, salty graham crack crust. It is the perfect complement to the other layers with the crunch, the sweetness, and the wheat flavor. It is a supporting player for what comes next.
Let's be honest - no one came here for a graham cracker crust recipe, even though it is tasty. It is layer #2, the chocolate cheesecake that is the star of this show. However, the saltiness of the crust is what helps the chocolate shine. The tanginess of the cream cheese and the bittersweet chocolate will tempt anyone. Lastly, layer #3, the marshmallow fluff brings the toasted sweetness. One complete package!
Appeal of minis
One of the reasons I like mini cheesecakes is that they do not require a long baking time. Each of these steps can be accomplished in a short period of time. Plus, who can resist their own little dessert?
I find that a good way to make the graham cracker crust is to mix the dry ingredients before adding the melted butter. The sugar and salt are then spread evenly throughout the crust. Make sure to coat all the dry ingredients with the melted butter. I add a full tablespoon to each cupcake liner and use a ¼ measuring cup to flatten the crust. It will then bake into a cohesive base for the cheesecake layer.
The best way to make a creamy and smooth cheesecake is to start with softened cream cheese. I take the cream cheese out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. The enemy of cheesecake is too much air whipped into the batter. If you start with softened cream cheese you lessen the amount of mixing.
After the initial mixing of the cream cheese, each additional ingredient adds to the smoothness of the batter. Just make sure you do not overmix. It is important to use a spatula to scrape the bowl after each addition. The last ingredient added is the melted chocolate. It should still be melty but cooled. Don't add warm chocolate to the batter.
I like to use foil liners for the cheesecakes. I feel they are easier to remove after chilling the cheesecake. I use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter out, just shy of ⅓ cup.
Don't be tempted to overfill the liners. The cheesecakes come out of the oven slightly puffy. They will sink a little as they cool but you need room for the marshmallow!
Bake the cheesecakes in a bain-marie or hot water bath. This helps to maintain a steady oven temperature and to avoid cracking. After 30 minutes, remove the cheesecakes from the oven. Let them come to room temperature and then put in the refrigerator.
Marshmallow fluff is whipped egg whites mixed with hot sugar syrup. Be careful! There is nothing worse than a hot sugar burn.
There are two components of making the fluff. The egg whites will wait for the sugar. The sugar will not wait for the egg whites. Therefore, start the egg whites in a mixing bowl at a slow speed. As they get frothy you can increase the speed a notch so the whites will get to a medium, soft peak. Add the cream of tartar now. Do not whip them at this time into stiff peaks.
Next, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan. I start the heat at medium to get the sugar dissolving, then increase to medium-high. You will see loose, big bubbles as the mix becomes hotter. The temperature of the sugar mixture needs to rise to 240 degrees. It will take 6-8 minutes to reach this temperature. The bubbles will become more viscous as water is evaporating and the sugar is getting thicker. It will seem like it takes forever to reach the correct temperature. Just be patient.
When the syrup is about 238 degrees, increase the speed of the mixer whipping the egg whites. Now you want them to be at stiff peaks. When the syrup has reached 240 degrees, pour the syrup slowly along the side of the mixing bowl.
The fluff will be soft at first and the bowl will feel very hot on the bottom. As the mixing continues, the fluff will collapse a little, become stiffer, and will start to cool. Let it mix for at least 5 minutes.
The finishing touch
I like to use a piping bag to add the marshmallow fluff to the top of the cheesecake. It is a little neater because the stuff is sticky. The last step is to use a torch to burnish the fluff. If you don't have a torch, you can decorate the marshmallow with shaved chocolate or chopped nuts.
There are several conflicting stories about the creation of s'mores. However, the first written recipe is attributed to a 1927 Girl Scout cookbook. Always be prepared to enjoy these deliciously rich treats.
While s'mores signal a summer campfire, these cheesecakes know no particular season. They are just as good in fall, winter, or spring. Love, love, love Mini S'Mores Chocolate Cheesecakes!
Love cheesecake? Here is another recipe - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/honey-poached-apricot-cheesecakes
Mini S'More Chocolate Cheesecakes
- muffin tin
- Mixer with both a paddle and a whisk attachment
- cupcake liners, preferably foil
Graham cracker crust
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 pinch salt
Chocolate cheesecake filling
- 1¼ cups semisweet chocolate
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Line all the cups in the muffin tin with liners.
- Melt 1 ¼ cups of chocolate in a microwave. Set aside.
Graham cracker crust
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar with a healthy pinch of salt. Add the melted butter. Make sure that all the crumbs are coated in butter.
- Add 1 tablespoon of graham cracker crust to each cup in the muffin tin. I use a ¼ measuring cup to press the cracker crumbs flat.
- Place the tin in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
- It is important to mix the cheesecake at a slow speed. Mixing at a high speed incorporates too much air which leads to cracking.
- Add 16 ounces of softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl. While mixing at a low speed, add the granulated sugar and the corn starch. Stop mixing when the ingredients are incorporated. Scrape the bowl with a spatula.
- Add an egg to the bowl. Only mix until the egg is incorporated. Scrape the bowl with a spatula.
- Mix in ½ cup of heavy cream, again mixing only until everything is incorporated. Scrape the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the melted and cooled chocolate. Stop mixing when the chocolate is incorporated. Scrape the bowl with a spatula, making sure the batter is smooth and all ingredients are mixed in.
- I like to use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups in the muffin tin. My scoop holds just shy of ⅓ cup.
- Place the muffin tin on a cookie sheet with sides. Put the cookie sheet/muffin tin on the rack in the oven. Pour hot water into the sheet pan, so that the muffin tin is surrounded by hot water and going up the sides. This is important to regulate the oven temperature and helps to stop cracking in the cheesecake.
- After 15 minutes, rotate the pan in the oven.
- After a final 15 minutes, remove from the oven.
- Let the cheesecakes come to room temperature. Then refrigerate until the cheesecakes are cold, approximately 2 hours.
- Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Start to heat over medium heat.
- While the sugars are cooking on the stove, start to whip the egg whites at medium speed. Keep the mixer with the whisk attachment running so that the egg whites will be ready when the sugar mixture comes to temperature. You want the eggs waiting for the syrup.
- When the sugar mixture is close to 240 degrees, increase the speed of the mixer so that the egg whites are starting to get stiff. It takes about 6-8 minutes for the sugar mixture to come to temperature.
- At 240 degrees, remove the pan from the stove. Pour the hot sugar mixture slowly into the stiffly whipped egg whites, alongside the side of the bowl.
- Continue to mix at high speed until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot. It will take another 5-6 minutes for the fluff to cool off. Add the vanilla as everything starts to get cooler.
- When the mixing is done, the fluff will be thick and stiff and will hold a peak.
- Pipe the marshmallow fluff onto the cooled cheesecake. Using a small torch, toast the marshmallow.