These Not So Classic New York-Style Cheesecake Bites are the best rendition of an old-time favorite with a real twist! Not only are these little bites the perfect size, but they come fully packed with a beautifully crunchy Graham Cracker + Walnut crust; a nice creamy, velvety cream cheese base, and topped with a delicious strawberry glaze topping. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion.
It’s literally just a few short days away from Valentine’s Day and I’ve been contemplating on the many recipes that could be whipped together for the Day of Love!
Granted, there are so many options, however, I’ve been wanting to create healthier options since I’m more health conscious and all!
Cheesecake was actually one of the first desserts I ever mastered. Crazy, right? I know. Interestingly enough, it became easier and easier to master with time, although I often used a store-bought crust and canned toppings. Haha. Don’t judge!
Now that I enjoy making my cheesecakes from scratch, I must say that every bite means something!
Not only does it mean that it’s so much more delicious, BUT it means that you truly are able to evolve into something that you never thought you could, once you keep trying and cultivating your skills.
I know—-you must be wondering how did I become so deep over a mere slice of cheesecake? Haha. Sorry. I just wanted to share a little back story and word of encouragement!
So, back to the sweets! OK. I’ve been a real, true lover of cheesecake for years! If you’ve been an avid reader of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you’re probably already aware of how this love even begun.
Moving to NYC at the age of 13 was such a huge transition (in more ways than one), but more importantly, the food was a major transition.
Fast forward to a year or two later, when I first introduced to my first real slice of Cheesecake and never putting down a fork whenever I see one close enough to grab a bite. Haha.
Yup. My obsession is that real!
Don’t believe me? Checkout these Mini Salted Caramel Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bites, which are one of my faves! They will leave you reminiscing on a nice slice of apple pie with a crunchy, sweet streusel topping.
Oh and then there are these Southerner’s Banana Pudding Cheesecake Bites, which of course pays a great homage to the ultimate dessert that I grew up eating ALL the time—- Banana pudding!
Flashback to last year during my Birthday when I decided to make these Mango Cheesecake + Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust instead of a Birthday Cake, because I just love doing things differently. I definitely have regrets because they turned out perfect!
Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I figured that I would take things back to my first love—NY Style Cheesecake (with a Strawberry topping—my fave!), but add my own twist and interpretation on it!
What do I mean? Whelp, for one—I chose not to go the traditional Graham Cracker Crust route with this recipe because I wanted to add a nice, saltier flavor, but more importantly, I wanted to keep things healthier.
Instead, I made my crust out of organic Graham Crackers and walnuts with a hint of cinnamon.
Using a food processor gets the job done a thousand times faster and efficient. Just a minute or 2 of pulsing and wallah!
Then of course, to keep things healthier for my forte, I chose to use less dairy products to build the cheesecake part of things (the body if you will!).
Most recipes use cream cheese, sour cream, AND heavy cream. However, if you’ve been an avid reader then you’re already aware that I try to reduce or cut out dairy completely, on a daily basis.
Therefore, I chose to use a healthier version of cream cheese—Organic Valley (which I highly recommend!) as well as less sour cream (which was low-fat).
I completely opted out for the heavy cream and used a bit of lemon juice instead. A hint of acidy definitely kick things off!
Now, to top things off, I chose to make my trusted Strawberry Compote, which is so easy to make and versatile, if you’re really into Strawberries!
Overall, everything just added a nice bite to the whole thing and there’s never too much strawberry, so of course, you can either add fresh strawberries on top or additional pieces of Graham Crackers.
Let’s dig our forks right into this recipe, shall we?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 12-cavity cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Grind the graham crackers and walnuts together, until almost finely ground (it’s OK to leave a few medium chunks, if your’e a lover a little crunch!). Combine the Graham cracker, cinnamon, and melted butter in a small bowl and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the cupcake liners (about 2 Tbsps per cup) and press down into the bottoms with your fingers to ensure that it’s perfectly covering the bottom.
Bake the crusts for about 5 minutes and then remove from oven and allow it to cool until you’re ready to use.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together on low speed: the cream cheese, pure cane sugar, and flour until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.
Next, add the vanilla extract and the first egg and beat slowly until mostly combined. Then add the remaining egg and mix until well combined, still mixing everything on low speed. Now, add the sour cream and lemon juice and continue mixing.
Change mixer attachment to a whisk and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or so until completely smooth and lump-free.
Add a small amount of filling to each cupcake liner (about 2 Tbsps), repeating until all batter is used.
Bake the cheesecakes for 20-25 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit in the oven for another 5 minutes with the oven door halfway open to avoid cheesecakes from deflating. **NOTE: When baking, I always prepare a medium pot with water and add it to the oven as well, to keep cheesecake temperature even and to add moisture.**
Remove cheesecakes from the oven and allow them to continue to cool for another 15-20 minutes, before putting them in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Once cooled, top generously with Strawberry Compote (See Notes!) and enjoy!
If you choose to make this Not So Classic New York-Style Cheesecake Bites recipe or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love!
Not So Classic New York-Style Cheesecake Bites.