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Mini Lemon Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crusts

Mini Cheesecakes
Spicy gingersnap cookies are a great alternative to graham crackers when you’re making a crust for a pie or a cheesecake. They can be ground up into crumbs just like graham crackers can be and give a warm, spicy kick to whatever they’re paired with. I like to use them a little more often in the winter, when everyone is in the mood for spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves, but I like them in general because they’re an easy way to add a lot of flavor to a recipe.

These Mini Lemon Cheesecakes are a perfect match for a gingersnap crust. The cheesecake batter is flavored with lots of lemon zest, so it has a bright citrus flavor that is a wonderful contrast for the spicy crust. I also added a small amount of lemon zest to the crust to tie the two together. I recommend choosing a flavorful type of gingersnap (Biscoff are quite good) for the best results, but you will still get a tasty dessert if you use regular graham crackers for the crust, as well.

These are a spinoff of my Chocolate Chip Mini Cheesecakes. They’re single serving cheesecakes, baked in muffin pans. I recommend using a muffin liner when baking these because it makes it much easier to remove them from the pan and serve them. If you happen to have a mini cheesecake pan, where the bases of all the muffin cavities are removable, then you can skip the muffin liners and bake your cheesecakes directly in the pan.

These can be served at room temperature shortly after being baked, or they can be chilled for up to two or three days. Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of spice and gingersnap crumbs, or a small twist of lemon zest.

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crusts
1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
small pinch salt
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

8-oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp sour cream or greek-style yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
1 tbsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8 cups of a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, make the gingersnap cookie crust. Mix together gingersnap crumbs, brown sugar, lemon zest and salt and stir to combine. Pour over melted butter and stir with a fork to moisten the crumbs.
Place about a tablespoon of crumb mixture in each of the prepared muffin cups and pack down into an even layer.

In a large bowl, make the cheesecake. Cream together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and lemon extract, if using. Stir in lemon zest.
Divide cheesecake mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheesecakes are set.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating.

Makes 8.

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  • itchbay
    December 2, 2011

    I wanted to make a pumpkin cheese cake with ginger snap crust for Thanksgiving, using the wonderful Triple Ginger Snaps from Trader Joe’s, but they were OUT!

    But this post makes me want to at least make sure I make it for Christmas!

  • belly
    December 2, 2011

    Oh my goodness! Do they freeze?

  • sara
    December 2, 2011

    Looks fantastic! Lemon + gingersnaps are amazing! 🙂

  • Anna
    December 2, 2011

    This looks delicious. I saw that you mentioned biscoff as a potential cookie to use for the crust. Have you ever tried making biscoff spread? It’s something you can buy online but a recipe for homemade would be even better.

  • Nicole
    December 2, 2011

    Anna – Great idea! I’ll have to play around with that asap!

  • Rebecca
    December 3, 2011

    Nicole- I was wondering what the cooking time would be if I were to try this as a regular size cheesecake. I hope to make this for my in-laws x-mas eve celebration!

  • Nicole
    December 3, 2011

    Rebecca – This recipe won’t make enough filling for a full sized cheesecake as written. I would make this recipe and adapt it to be lemon flavored:


    Use lemon extract instead of almond and add in 1 or 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon zest. And add a gingersnap crust, of course!

    This pie is also an AMAZING lemon+cheesecake combo: http://bakingbites.com/2010/05/lemon-swirl-cream-cheese-pie/

  • Barbara De Lollis
    December 4, 2011

    These were really good! Next time, though, I’d add a bit of spray to the liners because the mini-cheesecakes stuck to them.

  • beti
    December 4, 2011

    I love everything mini, bite size desserts are always perfect and they look cute

  • melissa
    December 4, 2011

    I love your site. It is the first place I look every time I want to bake.
    I made these mini cheesecakes today and they were delicious. I shared them with some family, who loved them, but the best part was how excited they were when they found out it was cheesecake. I could tell they were all looking at the tupperware thinking “hmm, cupcakes, okay.” When I told them what they were, their faces lit up instantly. It was pretty cool, actually.
    Thanks for all of your awesome recipes.

  • Susan
    December 4, 2011

    I made these this weekend with gluten-free gingersnap cookies from Trader Joe’s and they were fantastic! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • lina
    December 28, 2011

    Thank you for the recipe, looks very tasty

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