So I finally finished decking our halls this afternoon. And after baking a batch of these festive cheesecakes, which started by giving those sugared cranberries a bourbon bath, I’m feeling a little less Scrooge-like than I was the other day. Also after several days of dark and dismal afternoons, I’ve had the sun shining brightly in my kitchen all day, which always helps lighten my mood.
I’ve made sugared cranberries before and I just love how pretty and versatile they are. I decided to add bourbon to the soaking mixture this time because it just sounded fun. It added a very subtle flavor to the finished product, but if you are serving these cheesecakes to your kiddos, leave out the bourbon.
I haven’t bought new Christmas decorations for a while, but I was at Target the other day and they were offering a digital coupon, $10 off $50, so I couldn’t resist this Christmas platter. I also picked up a vintage-looking pillow that has Santa riding a bike stitched on the front. It was my splurge since we’re not getting our usual live Christmas tree this year.
I’ve mentioned before I’m a big fan of upcycling my recipes. These cheesecakes are another example of that. I took the base recipe from these white chocolate strawberry cheesecakes and made them festive for the holidays, with help from Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps and their Cranberry Apple Butter. The little ginger cookies fit perfectly in the bottom of the cupcake liners, so since I spent extra time on the sugared cranberries, I took a shortcut on the crust and just used whole cookies instead of crushing them up and mixing them with melted butter!
These little cheesecakes can be made a day or two ahead and stored, covered in the refrigerator. Just be sure to wait and top them with the whipped cream and sugared cranberries right before serving. That way they will look festive and sparkly for your guests!
White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecakes
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 12 Trader Joe's Triple Gingersnap Cookies
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 oz white chocolate melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup Trader Joe's Cranberry Apple Butter
- whipped cream
- For the cranberries, combine the bourbon and 1/3 cup of sugar in a small sauce pan. Heat gently over medium heat until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Stir occasionally and allow to soak for about 15 minutes.
- Drain the bourbon and sugar from the cranberries and allow them to dry in a single layer on a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet for about an hour. The cranberries will retain the sticky coating from the bourbon and sugar mixture.
- Pour the 1 1/2 cup of sugar over the cranberries and roll them to coat evenly with sugar. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use (they’ll probably stay fresh for up to 3 days).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place 12 foil liners in a muffin tin and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Put one triple ginger cookie in the bottom of each muffin cup liner.
- With a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on high for about 1 minute. Add the sugar, orange zest and orange juice and beat until smooth.
- Add the white chocolate, egg and vanilla. Again, beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Stir in the cranberry apple butter by hand, just until combined.
- Divide the cheesecake batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
- Bake on center rack for 20 – 22 minutes, or until cheesecakes are just set.
- Allow to cool in muffin tin for about 30 minutes. Then finish chilling the cheesecakes in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
- Right before serving, top each cheesecake with whipped cream and sugared cranberries.