It’s that merry time of year again where people shop ‘til they drop and spend some QT with beloved friends and family. There’s no other time quite like Christmas to tell someone ‘thank you’ and show them they’re appreciated.
But thanks to the shallow pockets that go with being a student, the ‘drop’ part of ‘shop ‘til you drop’ often comes pretty early in the scheme of things. It’s among the most frustrating feelings in the world when our mums and besties deserve a freaking private island, but we can hardly afford to purchase a book. Thankfully, you’re not alone and you’re about to find a very pleasing solution.
Dating back to the stone ages, cave women and men saved the sweetest berries for their sweetest friend. Indulgences have always represented appreciation and love. And that tradition has carried on over time — to greeting neighbors with a freshly baked pie, to Valentine’s Day chocolates, to your parents stuffing an extra biscuit in your lunch bag on the first day of school.
This year, instead of scrounging up just enough bucks to spoil mum with a new dust collector, use your spare change to make a platter of these adorable (and incredibly tasty) Santa hat cheesecake bites! The treat receiver will be touched that you took the time to make such a thoughtful and decorative treat (not to mention impressed at how tasty they are!).
The fact that these treats look so fancy and delectable makes them the centre of attention at Christmas dinner parties, but that’s not the best part! There are less than 10 ingredients, which only take 30 minutes to prep in 10 easy steps and one batch makes 24 cheesecake bites! So enough cutesy-cutesy, let’s start baking!
Time: 30 minutes prep, 20 minutes baking, and about 10 minutes to devour an entire platter
Serves: Roughly 24 mini cheesecakes (recommended serving is 4, but who are we to judge?)
12 mini Oreo biscuits (or a similar brand, as we are on a budget)
250 grams of cream cheese
½ cup of caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs lemon juice
24 fresh strawberries
150 ml cream
2 tbs icing sugar
Rosemary sprig and candy canes (totally optional)
Mini muffin tin (24 mini muffin cups)
Mini muffin paper liners (or cooking spray)
2 large bowls
Cups/teaspoons/tablespoons for measuring
Piping bag (or use a Ziplock bag with a corner cut)
Ingredients? Check. Tools? Check. Let’s roll!
- First and foremost, get your oven preheating to 180 degrees Celcius. Either line the mini muffin tray with the paper liners or spray generously with cooking spray.
- Now, put the cream cheese, caster sugar, vanilla and lemon juice into a large bowl and start combining with the electric beater. Once the concoction is smooth and creamy, add the eggs one at a time as you continue to combine. Set this bowl aside for now (and take a beater licking break if you please).
- Get the mini oreos and separate . Use a knife to scrape off the cream. You won’t use the cream so feel free to indulge here, too. What’s baking without some tasty treats along the way, anyway?
- Take the separated mini Oreos and place one biscuit in the bottom of each muffin tin. Dividing the cream cheese mix as evenly as possible, add a scoop on top of each mini Oreo in the muffin tin. Toss in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The cheesecake should be slightly risen and starting to crack on the top when it’s done. When your timer buzzes and the cakes look good, take them out of the tin and cool them on a wire cooling rack (or your creative take on one if you don’t have a cooling rack available).
- While baking or cooling, whip the cream and icing sugar together in the other large bowl until it thickens up and is as fluffy as Santa’s suit. Set aside (yum, another whisk to lick!).
- You can start cutting the green ends off of the strawberries so that they start to resemble the shape of a Santa hat (the tip of the berry to be pointing up).
- Once the cheesecakes are totally cooled, you can put the cream and icing sugar mixture into the piping bag (or alternative) and blob on a dollop of the mixture to each cheesecake — but don’t use it all up yet.
- Place a strawberry onto each blob and really push down so that the creamy mixture oozes out to resemble a fur trim. Top each strawberry tip with another blob so you have the fun ‘ball of fur’ look.
- Take the serving to the next level by dusting with a bit of icing sugar to have that ‘white Christmas’ snazz and garnish with candy canes a rosemary sprig if you have one. Sure, rosemary and dessert is a disaster waiting to happen, but how cute does the fake pine look?
- And finally, the cheesecakes are ready to be gifted! Be sure to store them in the fridge so they don’t get melty and sad looking.
Now all that’s left to do is a quick clean up and throw together a sweet and silly handmade Christmas card (and no, ‘Berry Christmas’ is not clever…but it is pretty cute).
Easy peasy, huh? While these little hat snacks make a totally sweet gift, be wary of leaving them under the tree! You never know when a reindog or secret elf is sneaking around…
How’d you go? Does your attempt look like Santa hats or more like a sloppy strawberry Jenga? Show us your pics!