These individually sized Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes are little bites of fluffy deliciousness, topped with lightly macerated strawberries. Oh, and they’re easy to make too!
Friendships, when you are a child, seem to form over the smallest common bonds — a shared love of juice boxes, a moment in a pool, an assigned seat next to each other. Sure, it can still be difficult but the opportunity just seems so much greater.
But when you grow older, it becomes comparatively hard.
It’s not enough to work together (in fact, sometimes that can be a deterrent) or to see each other at the gym regularly. It’s not enough to have kids in the same class or to run into each other at the park regularly. Those put you in proximity but they don’t help you take a relationship to a real friendship life.
These days, I am not sure what adult friendship really looks like. I thought I did. But after having friends come and go — sometimes losing that connection because one or two of us moved, for instance — I wonder what it really takes to make and keep friends when you are in your 40s.
When I was a kid, I made friends with some lovely adults in our neighborhood. Elayne, in particular, was a kindred spirit to me, even when I was very young. I used to visit her, sitting at her counter and recounting stories of school and holidays, vacations and friends. She would tell me about her own traditions. As I got older, I saw her in the neighborhood more and always stopped for a chat.
When she died, unexpectedly on fall morning, I was devastated. But I’ve held tight to the memories of our time together.
Strawberry cheesecake is wrapped up tightly in one of those memories — a tale of spontaneous fun and dessert. So every time I eat it or make it, I am reminded of Elayne. And I wonder what advice she would have for me now. She was a strong, mighty, kind woman who had so many friends — but also loved herself fiercely. Even though I don’t know what adult friendship really looks like, I know that it looks a little like Elayne and how she lived her life.
That brings me to these individually sized cheesecakes that remind me of her. These are little bites of deliciousness that should be enjoyed with friends and loved ones. Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes are a lighter cheesecake that can be whipped up in an hour. You can eat them warmed with strawberries on top, or you could let them chill for a bit first. Your choice.
Any which way, when you dig into these Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes, enjoy every bite.
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup, plus 1 tbsp sugar, divided
- 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 20 ginger snaps
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the strawberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese, eggs, 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract. Whisk on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and whisk for 3-4 minutes, until smooth.
- Place 1 ginger snap, rounded side down, in each of the muffin cups. Fill each cup about ¾ full with cheesecake batter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until set. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and turn out onto a cutting board (hint: if you turn them out earlier, the cheesecake will stick to the board). Repeat with remaining ginger snaps and batter to make 8 additional mini cheesecakes.
- To serve: Top with prepared strawberries. Enjoy.