These mini cheesecake bites combine two of my favorite desserts. A cream, slightly tangy cheesecake batter atop fudgy brownie layer when eaten together with airy whipped cream is a burst of textures and flavors in your mouth. The bites are flavored with my favorite indian spices and the spiced layers complement each other so well. The brownie layer has hints of fresh ground green cardamom while the cheesecake batter gets its golden color and exotic flavor from saffron. My favorite brand to use is Zaran Saffron.
These bites are incredibly quick and easy to make once you gather the ingredients which aren't too many. The combination of chocolate and saffron is both bold and exotic.I took to mini cheesecake bites sometime last year and its one of my favorite things to bake. This recipe makes a batch of 10-12 bites which keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge and are amazing for a post dinner sweet craving.
A few things to be kept in mind:-
- Make sure that your ingredients are are at room temperature wherever mentioned. I can't stress this enough.
- The brownie layer is baked first to set before adding the cheesecake batter but make sure to not bake the brownie layer fully.
- Bake the cheesecake bites till the centers are jiggly. Do not bake all the way through. They will finish setting up while chilling.
- A common problem is cracks in the cheesecake layer. The reason is that when your ingredients are not a room temperature, we tend to overmix the batter and incorporate too much air in the process. This makes the batter rise too much during baking and it comes cracking down after you take it out of the oven.However, dont stress too much about it because you can always cover the cracks up with ganache or dollop of whipped cream or fruit toppings. Remember taste over looks, always! 🙂
- Another common problem is that the cheese batter is grainy and not smooth after you beat it. Again, this happens when the cream cheese is not at room temperature.
- After the baking is over, dont pull out the cheesecakes immediately out of the oven, switch the oven off, open the door and let them hang out there for 5-8 minutes.
Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites
- Bowls, Hand Mixer/Whisk, Spatula, Muffin Pans,Paper Liners
For the Brownie Layer
- 4 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ¼ cup all purpose flour sifted
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
For the Cheesecake Filling
- 10-12 strands saffron
- ½ tablespoon warm milk
- 8 oz cream cheese (please dont use low fat or no fat), softened at room temperature
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sour cream room temperature
- ⅓ cup confectioners sugar
- ½ tablespoon lemon or orange juice
- pinch sea salt
- whipped cream
- Line your 12 muffin/cupcake pan with liners and preheat oven to 350F.
- In a medium bowl, add the butter and set it in microwave to completely melt for minute or so. Once melted, take out and immediately add the chocolate chips. Wisk well gently till smooth. The chocolate will melt in warm butter.
- Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk well for 2-3 minutes till everything is creamy and the sugar is dissolved. By this time the mix would cool down as well so its ready for egg.
- Add the egg to the coo butter sugar mix and whisk well to combine.
- Next, add the flour cocoa powder and cardamon. Using a spatula combine everything until you cannot see any white flour. The mix will be smooth and sticky. And too tempting to lick 🙂
- Add about 1 tablespoon of heaped brownie batter to each liner. You can decide which layer you want to make thicker and add the batter accordingly.
- Set in the oven to bake for 6-8 minutes untill the brownie batter is set. Dont bake all the way through. After its set, pull out the tray and you will that the brownie layer is puffy but it will puff down while you make the filling.
- Grind saffron strands using mortar pestle, pour over warm milk and let infuse.
- In a large bowl, add all the ingredients under the filling and using a hand mixer, beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Dont over beat.
- Add the infused saffron next and beat for 10-15 seconds to incorporate.
- Add about ¼ cup to the cupcake liners filling with brownie crust. You can add the filling in a ziplock bag and pour too. So I had planned for 12 cheesecakes but ran out after 11th one was filled.Â Â Once filled, tap the pan a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until set, little jiggly in the centre is fine. Dont overbale else the cheesecake will not be soft after chilling.Once baked, switch off the stove, open the door and let the pan stay there for a 10 mins.
- After 10 minutes, pull out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool down completely.
- Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. Add dollop of whipped cream before serving.