Filed Under: Cheesecake | Christmas | Dessert

Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
December 14th, 2016

Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts are the perfect easy yet impressive bite-sized treat for any holiday party!

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

YUM!! This is the perfect festive recipe for easy entertaining! Such a crowd pleaser!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Just like gingerbread, but better with the added dose of flavor provided by the cream cheese and Speculoos cookie crust!
Texture: The cream and smooth cheesecake filling is basically sandwiched by a crunchy buttery crust, and extra crunchy candied walnuts.
Ease: Way quicker and easier than making a full-sized cheesecake. The candied walnuts on top are super simple too!
Pros: Fun festive recipe that’s perfect for any holiday party. You can easily double the recipe to serve a bigger group.
Cons: None!!
Would I make this again? Absolutely. I might drizzle with salted caramel next time!

This post is sponsored by The California Walnut Board. All opinions provided are my own. Thanks for supporting me in working with brands I love to bring you new recipes!

Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts are the perfect easy yet impressive bite-sized treat for any holiday party!

This is another post in my ongoing partnership with The California Walnut Board. This recipe is all about taking advantage of the holiday season with all the beautiful flavors it has to offer. Gingerbread being one of my personal favorites!

With every season I love to come up with a new cheesecake recipe that matches the temperature, flavors, or holidays of that time of year. I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of candied walnut for my holiday recipe with The California Walnut Board, so that’s how these Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts recipe was born!

I hope you’ll make them soon, especially since there’s only a couple weeks left of 2016 which is absolutely crazy!

Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts are the perfect easy yet impressive bite-sized treat for any holiday party!

Mini Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe Tips

The Pan

I used my beloved Mini Cheesecake Pan for this recipe, but if you don’t have one go ahead and use a standard muffin tin with paper liners sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Also make sure to grease your mini cheesecake pan if you’re using that. We don’t want any sticking here since there is no baking!

The Crust

To really amplify that gingerbread flavor in a unique way, I like to use Speculoos cookies for the crust. They’re labeled “Sepculoos” cookies at Trader Joe’s, or also sold in many grocery stores under the name Biscoff or Lotus. They’re the cookies served on many airplane flights! If you can’t find them, no worries. Feel free to use 20 gingersnap cookies or 9 whole graham crackers.

To make quick and easy work of assembling the crust, I like to take a heaping tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture and place it into each cavity. Then I take a shot glass or small tamper and to firmly press the crust down into the pan so it’s nice and compact and neat. If there are a lot of stray crumbs up the sides of the cavities I’ll try to brush them away so they don’t end up on the actual cheesecake.

The Cheesecake

Make sure your cream cheese is completely at room temperature. You want to beat it very well so no lumps remain. However, once you add the egg be careful not to over beat, which can cause the cheesecakes to crack and deflate.

Make sure you chill the cheesecakes for at least 3 hours so they have the best shape, texture, and taste.

Making Ahead & Storing

The plain cheesecakes, without the walnuts or chocolate, can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container up to 3 days ahead of time. Once you add the toppings they’re best served within a day.

Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts are the perfect easy yet impressive bite-sized treat for any holiday party!

This post is sponsored by The California Walnu
t Board
. All opinions provided are my own. Thanks for supporting me in working with brands I love to bring you new recipes!

How to make
Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts are the perfect easy yet impressive bite-sized treat for any holiday party!

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 17 (133 grams) Speculoos cookies
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) California walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 large egg

For the candied walnuts:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (115 grams) California walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Melted white chocolate, for drizzling

Directions

Make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12 cup mini cheesecake pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Place the graham crackers and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this).
  3. Bake the crusts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.

Make the filling:

  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, molasses, cream, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity.
  2. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. At this point the cheesecakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Make the candied walnuts:

  1. Heat the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Heat over medium for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the nuts are evenly coated.
  2. Transfer immediately to a parchment lined baking sheet and separate the walnuts with two spatulas. Allow to cool and harden for 10 minutes, then divide among the top of each cheesecake. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Allow to set before serving.

Recipe Notes

If you can’t find Speculoos cookies, feel free to use 20 gingersnap cookies or 9 whole graham crackers.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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  1. #
    Muffy — December 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    This looks sooo good. It will be on our dessert table Christmas eve! Love your Blog…You are the best!

  2. #
    Katie — October 6, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you SOOO much for explaining how to mix cheesecake!! I have a Junior’s cheesecake recipe book that I Love, but after the last one I made turned out lumpy (I was afraid of *overmixing* BC I didn’t understand the why), I’ve been hesitant to try again. Now I can make any cheesecake dessert with confidence that it will turn out smooth and creamy with no lumps!! This recipe is definitely on my to-do list this holiday season!

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