One of those annoying food videos on Facebook caught my eye as I was trying to scroll past. They were dipping cheesecake squares in chocolate! I love to make cheesecake and also love to dip chocolates. I needed to bring a dessert for the birthday party my siblings and I were throwing for our mother’s recent 80th birthday. Chocolate dipped cheesecake bites sounded like they needed to happen!
The Tasty video had used a recipe that wasn’t a baked cheesecake. I wrinkled my nose, I’m a cheesecake purist. It isn’t a cheesecake unless it’s baked in my world. The other cheesecakes are just pudding pretenders. I searched the internet for recipes and found a pretty wide variety. I can’t cite a recipe I actually used since I took ideas from several places. You know how that goes.
My first problem was about 99% of the recipes called for crushing 9 graham crackers for the crust. Cheesh. I haven’t bought a graham cracker since my last child was out of diapers. I had to research the equivalent in graham cracker crumbs, which is what I now buy. I mostly use graham crumbs for cheesecakes so I skip the part where I crush them to death before using. The answer was: 9 grahams = 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs. (I wonder how long I’ll remember that).
I melted the stick of butter then added the graham crumbs and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl. Not many of the recipes called for the powdered sugar, or any sugar for that matter, in the crust. I like my crust a little sweet so I followed the original Tasty video’s use of the powdered sugar. I also added salt from another recipe, as I like the combination of sweet and salty in the crust. I mixed the crumb crust well with a fork and it was ready to press into the pan.
Ooops, I hadn’t prepared the pan first. Here’s another place where the recipes varied. I chose to use parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom of the pan. My pan was a 9-in square pan, most recipes used 8-in pans. I decided if my squares were a little shorter than the others, I was fine with that. I pressed the crust into the prepared pan, using my tart tamper to press it evenly around the edges. You could use your hands, I like to play with my little tamper when possible. It’s one of my things.
The crust went into the 350°F oven for 10 minutes. I removed it from the oven and set it on a rack. Then I raced over to the kitchen computer to figure out what to do next. I’d beaten the cheesecake filling in my stand mixer (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of any of that!) and wasn’t sure if the filling should be poured over the warm crust. I mentally flipped a coin and decided to not let the crust cool before pouring. Into the warm pan went the cheesecake filling.
I baked the cheesecake for 35 minutes, the lowest recommended time and peeked when the timer went off. It looked a little puffed around the edges (a good sign) but still not puffed in the middle. I set the timer for 5 more minutes and after that time it looked evenly puffed. I carefully removed it from the oven and set it on a rack to cool.
The bottom of the pan was cool to the touch after an hour. I put the pan into the freezer and let it freeze for 4 hours. 3 hours might have been enough but dinnertime interfered with my timing. Life, ya know!
I didn’t need to use a knife around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan as it had shrunk and separated by itself. I tipped the pan upside down carefully and it popped right out of the pan, leaving the parchment paper behind in the pan. It was easier than I’d imagined! I used a large chef’s knife to cut it into the 36 squares. They weren’t all equal sizes after all, but that was good. You could choose to eat the size you wanted.
The squares were softening by this time so I put them onto two waxed paper lined plates and returned them to the freezer while I melted the chocolate. I put the 2 bags of milk chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli) into a small glass bowl along with 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. Many recipes just used the chips but I knew the coconut oil would help them firm up and keep the chocolate shiny, according to another recipe.
I covered a third plate with waxed paper and as I dipped each square into the chocolate I placed it onto the sheet. You’ll need to find your own best method for dipping. I took a square, dipped the bottom crust in the chocolate, set it on a large fork then poured chocolate over it with a spoon. That worked best and I didn’t get any stray crumbs falling into the chocolate.
When the squares were all dipped I put them into the fridge to firm up before carefully layering them in a container with a cover and refrigerating them until the party. I used smaller containers so that they’d fit into a cooler for transporting to my mom’s house.
Did we like the flavors? Oh my, too delicious! The nice tang of a baked cheesecake coated in silky milk chocolate was a huge success! Totally worth all of the work, which wasn’t that much really. I like to dip chocolates so it was easy for me. On one of the blogs they simply spread out the bites and drizzled the chocolate over them and that looked kind of good too. You might try that if you’re not a dipper!
Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Bites
9 whole graham crackers (or 1 1/4 cups graham crumbs)
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1/4 cup powdered sugar
16 ounces cream cheese; room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
In a small bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and powdered sugar. Press evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 325°F.
With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar for 3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. On low-speed, add the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt and beat until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cheesecake will be slightly puffed. The center may still jiggle a bit. That’s fine.
Let cheesecake cool completely on a wire rack. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours or overnight.
When the cheesecake is frozen, tip upside down and remove from pan. Peel away parchment paper. Place square upright and use a sharp knife to cut cheesecake into 36 squares.
Microwave the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Place parchment paper or waxed paper on a baking sheet. Dip cheesecake squares one at a time in the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off and place on prepared sheet. Repeat for all the squares.
Refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Serve or store the squares in an airtight container in the fridge.