Monday, May 4, 2015

Build Your Own Cheesecakes

A coworker has decided that she is fulfilling a lifelong dream and moving to Alaska. She has been with the company for over 18 years and was instrumental in my original training. We worked closely together on almost a daily basis and she will truly be missed.

She doesn't like big celebrations or fusses made for her, but my boss still wanted to send her away in style (her style), so we had a luncheon. She chose Jimmy John's for lunch and I coordinated the sub order. My boss picked up chips and I offered to make the dessert as I do for almost all celebrations.

My thinking cap went into high gear last week trying to figure out the logistics of making Baked Alaska treats for the group. Without having a kitchen torch at my disposal and not sure how I would get them to work in one piece, I pitched that idea to the side and chose mini cheesecakes instead.

Margaret (the Alaska-bound coworker) and I had a discussion just last week about how amazing cheesecake is and how you can just never say no when someone offers you some. Not to mention how many different kinds there are. This got me thinking and I came up with a Top-Your-Own-Cheesecake Bar.

I have learned over the past ten years that if you bring in a sheet cake or pie and it's not cut up, my coworkers are less likely to eat it. So I decided to make individual cheesecake cupcakes. I found a recipe on, but I made some substitutions.

I subbed crushed vanilla wafer cookies in place of the graham crackers. You may want to use 1.5 cups instead of 1 cup as I felt each cup could have used a little more in the bottom. I used 3 packages of 1/3 less fat cream cheese to lessen the fat content of the cheesecake a bit, but not sacrificing flavor.

I didn't use the whipping cream in this recipe because I bought a can of cool whip for my coworkers to use.

I made the cupcakes as the directions said and they took 25 minutes in my oven.

In the meantime, I got the toppings ready. I went to Dollar Tree and picked up some of the ingredients. They had Apple Pie Filling, frozen mixed fruit and blueberries and Butterfinger Bites. I also picked up some containers to put the fruits in because I didn't have enough at home. The store sells 3-packs of 2-cup Betty Crocker containers for $1 each. These are a perfect size container. I then stopped at the grocery store and picked up Cherry Pie Filling and Cool Whip.

So in all, I had five toppings and Cool Whip for my coworkers to create their own cheesecake desserts. I would recommend cutting the apples in half as they were quite large and I coarsely chopped the Butterfinger Bites.

The lunch was a great success. We shared stories and reminisced on her years at Image Makers. She thanked us and wished us luck and plans to keep in touch.

And my dessert was a huge hit! Everyone said the cheesecakes were great and loved the variety of toppings. There were even a few leftover in the fridge after the party, but I'm sure they won't last long!

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