With Valentine’s Day being now 10 days away, I thought I’d share a really tasty treat Mom came upon and we tried out this week. While the prep and baking time isn’t short, and there’s a good amount of work involved these are delicious little morsels, they are amazing! They’re only 119 calories a piece too, which mean you can feel decadent without being decadent.
First let me give credit where credit is due, Mom found this recipe on Taste of Home and I’m so glad she did. The full directions and nutrition count are listed there, as are other people’s comments and ideas about this yummy dessert.
Fear not, all you readers who think this is going to be a boring point-by-point how to bake post. Where would the fun in that be? Cue dramatic music! (please play whatever music YOU think is most fitting here, its your cue)
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup baking cocoa
1/2 Cup cold butter
2 Tablespoons cold water
(this is the crust)
2 Packages (three ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of milk
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Egg, lightly beaten
(this is the filling)
1 Can of cherry or strawberry pie filling
(this is the topping)
The awesomeness which is 1 Cup of flour I scooped into the cup, and then plopped into the bowl. Tiny want-to-taste hobgoblins danced around the counter (oh I know that most of you would say it was currents from the vents on the floor coming up but I say it was hobgoblins) making the measurement difficult enough that I went to get stabilizing scissors. Not really but then how do I explain the scissors there?
To the awesome flour, I added the 1/4th baking cocoa of power. You can see here the two having their molecular battle for dominance straight away. Adding the 1/3 cup of sugar did nothing except make the cocoa more rowdy. It was getting out of hand, and also, out of the bowl. The pushing the shoving, the calling of names, it all happened right there on the counter then Mom suddenly added in the 1/2 cup of cold butter. That was just like throwing oil on a bonfire. This is immediately ensued:
Do you see those lumps in there? Oh my. They were my enemies. Sworn enemies. The butter was refrigerator cold, and the flour and cocoa were dry. Four large squares of unyielding fat had to be battered into tiny pieces by my hand whisk. And by battered into pieces, I mean smashed, snarled at, despised, wept over, and given several Al Capone like threats that they had BETTER COMBINE or life would not be pleasant for their families. The result?
Something that looked like I’d pooper-scooped it from the neighbor’s yard. But while I was battling MY cooking goblins, and the ingredients were battling each other, Mom was tripping through the her part of the recipe which was the filling part. Sadly, you don’t get to witness her finesse with the ingredients, only my hacking and slashing through the ranks of the tiny cheese cake sprites. I did snap this neat picture of her ingredients working together in sweet harmony in the mixer.
Then came the time to combine my rebellions crust concoction (that looked like something that should be left in the yard) with her supremely fluffy and good enough to eat on its own filling. Go on, take a peek.
The reason mine doesn’t look so sickening in this shot is because I haven’t added the water to the mix yet. Still, see all those lumps? All those rebellous clots of fat that REFUSED point blank to be smashed into elegant crumbles like the pictures on the site? And because of their refusal, when I went to put them into the tiny cups, it looked even worse. I would advise you to go ahead and scroll quickly down past this one and concentrate instead on the creamy filling shots.
I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right, it’s rather disgusting looking. The crust is both sticky, and dense. Mom and I finally resorted to using the back of a floured mellon-baller to get the shape of the cheese cake crusts correct. It was important that they come up the entire side of the cup, otherwise the filling might have run all over and possibly attempted world domination. It needed to be contained.
However, it smelled very lightly of cocoa and that made it bearable. Then, this happened.
Creamy goodness, that dropped lightly off her spoon and into my malformed custard cups with the greatest of ease, made the filling of these crusts the easiest thing either of us did all the morning long. By the time we had filled them all up, I was ready for a nap. It took much longer than the “twenty five minutes” to get to this stage so if you undertake this for the first time, don’t feel bad if getting to this point takes forty minutes like it did for us. In the end, Mom and I prevailed, that’s what counts. That and the fact that these were delicious.
And also, this:
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, and cocoa; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add in water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball (this was the struggle, right here) Shape into 24 balls. Place in a greased miniature muffin cups; press dough into the bottom and up the sides of each cup
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add egg; beat on low until just combined. Spoon about 1 tablespoon full into each cup (true, it takes a lot to fill the cups)
Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes or until set (no jiggles) Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from pans to cool completely. Top with pie filling. Store in the refrigerator. Yield 2 dozen.
So, there’s my sweet treat show and tell for Valentine’s Day. What do YOU have planned? Remember, Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. Take a moment to tell everyone in your life, just how much you love them. And you don’t need to buy them lavish gifts though they might tell you to make them several dozen of these after you allow them to eat one. But do tell them how much they mean to you, life is short and love never lessens, it only grows when its shared. So, SHARE. Especially on Valentine’s Day.