Mini Almond Cheesecakes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but still thick
- 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, soft
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, no white bitter pith
- 1/2 cup Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1 stick unsalted butter, soft
- 1/2 cup Imperial Sugar Confectioners Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour*
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 pint raspberries
*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.
- Preheat oven 330°F.
- Brush 24 cavities in a mini muffin tin with butter. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, shake out excess and set aside.
- Blend cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and lemon zest on lowest speed, alternatively mix by using a hand held spatula until no lumps remain. Scrape bowl well. Add 1 egg at a time waiting for previous added egg to be fully incorporated, scrape bowl and beater between additions.
- Add sour cream and almond extract and pour batter into prepared mini muffin pan.
- Place mini muffin tin on a larger, rimmed cookie sheet and pour 2 cups of water onto cookie sheet (around mini muffin tin).
- Place in oven and bake until mini cheesecakes no longer jiggle in center and feel set when lightly pressed with a finger, about 35-40 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator before removing cheesecakes from tin.
- Prepare cookie bottoms by mixing soft butter and powdered sugar until well blended. Add salt and almond extract followed by almonds.
- Add flour and mix until combined.
- Place dough on a sheet of plastic food wrap. Cover with another sheet of plastic and roll dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.
- Place on a cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
- Peel away top layer of plastic and cut circles about the same size as bottoms of cheesecakes.
- Place circles on parchment lined or non-stick cookie sheets.
- Place in a 350°F oven until cookies turn golden on edges, about 10 minutes.
- Remove cheesecake tin from refrigerator. Line a counter with plastic food wrap. Turn tin upside down and gently tap it. If cheesecakes refuse to release, place 2 fingers on cheesecake and twist it while holding the pan upside down.
- Place cheesecakes on baked cookie bottoms.
- Decorate with fruit of choice.