I've been accused of many things during my lifetime. Some noteworthy and accurate, like when my 4th grade classmates accused me of being a teacher's pet. I had a mad crush on Mr. What's-His-Name and would have done somersaults down the Roberta Avenue hill for a smile from him during recess. That was a completely worthy title and I shall forever wear it with pride. But I've also been accused of not so nice or noteworthy things. I, for example, am NOT a glutton. I don't care who you think you are (and you KNOW who you are!), just because I make a pan of cheesecakes does NOT mean that I will hoard them, hide in a dark closet, and have a love fest while eating them. I'm trying to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday, so I won't eat them...even if they look like this!
I'll admit to being a bit of a cheesecake whore, but never a glutton. According to Merriam-Webster, a glutton is someone with "a serious failure in self-discipline". If I was a true glutton, I wouldn't use a fork or a plate when consuming these creamy decadent cheesecakes. In fact, it's likely that gluttony would cause me to throw my face down into the entire pan of them. I don't do that...very often. OK, once or twice...or four times. Why are we keeping track, anyway?
- 2 1/4 cups graham crackers, finely crushed (about 14 sheets)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
For the topping
- 4 cups sweet cherries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 jar hot fudge sauce (I used Smucker’s)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, whisk together graham crackers and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir with spoon until evenly coated. Divide graham cracker mixture among 24 paper lined muffin cups, adding a heaping teaspoon full to each. Press mixture evenly into each cup. Bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool while preparing filling.
- In large mixing bowl, add softened cream cheese, 1.5 cups sugar, and flour. Use a hand or stand mixer to mix on low speed until well blended and smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and blend on low speed just until combined after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula as necessary. Add vanilla, sour cream and whipping cream and mix just until combined.
- Tap mixing bowl against counter top about 30 times to release some of the air bubbles. Divide mixture among muffin cups, filling each cup nearly full. Bake in heated oven for 20 to 23 minutes; centers should still jiggle slightly… don't overbake! (If tops begin to crack, they’ve been baking too long). Remove from oven and allow them to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
- To garnish before serving, use the back of a spoon to spread 1/2 teaspoon of fudge sauce onto the top of each cheesecake, then place a dollop of cherry topping on top (directions for preparation below).
- Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
For the cherry topping
- In a small bowl, whisk together corn starch and cold water to make a slurry; set aside.
- Place cherries and sugar into large microwave-safe bowl. Stir to combine and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring after the first minute. Add cornstarch mixture to the cherries and continue cooking on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring briefly every 30 seconds.
- Remove from microwave, stir in vanilla extract and chill until ready to serve.