Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
I was inspired to do a cheesecake-like dessert-in-a-cup by the irresistible S’Mores Cheesecake Dessert Shots at Poor Girl Eats Well. She’s done several exciting dessert shots, and the idea really appeals to me. Sadly I don’t have cute little dessert shot glasses, but instead I bought some smallish pretty plastic cups. Luckily, these sort of desserts work just as well in tiny glasses as they do in medium-sized ones! When making your own desserts-in-a-cup, chose whichever side you prefer.
Looking back to the S’Mores Cheesecake Dessert Shots recipe, I was in the mood for fresh fruit this week, so I skipped the marshmallow creme (this time, at least!) and instead put in some thinly sliced strawberries. I did though borrow her use of mixing cream cheese with melted chocolate, and I’m very glad I did! I added a splash of milk and dab of vanilla too, and the result was a creamy, delightful layer with a notable but not overpowering chocolate taste.
To top it all off, I used my immersion blender to fluff up some heavy cream. It tasted luxurious, but it’s also responsible for over one-third of the dessert’s calories and nearly a third of the cost! If you don’t have an immersion blender or are hesitant about including heavy cream, no need to worry! See the tweaking section below for several suggestions on how to make this dessert with an alternative top layer!
While my roommate argued that the Neufchatel mixture isn’t similar enough to cheesecake to be labelled as such, she did agree with me that it was delicious! I would say if you don’t enjoy cheesecake you probably won’t like these, since they do have a noticeable cream cheese flavor, but if you’re a fan of cheesecake like I am, you’ll probably love these too!
Chocolate Strawberry Neufchatel Cups
Adapted from Poor Girl Eats Well
8 oz Neufchatel cheese (one rectangular package)
2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz strawberries, thinly sliced
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 tsp chocolate liquor
Chocolate chips, roughly chopped (optional)
Place the Neufchatel cheese in a large mixing bowl, and let it sit for 10 minutes to allow it to soften. In the microwave, melt the 2 oz of chocolate, heating on high and pausing every 30 seconds to stir well. Pour the chocolate onto the cheese and add the milk and vanilla. Immediately use an electric mixer to blend the ingredients together on medium speed. The finished product should look creamy, with an even consistency.
In the bottom of three or four wide, short cups, place a layer of the chocolate Neufchatel. Use about half of the chocolate Neufchatel, reserving the rest for a second layer.
Pick out a few strawberry slices that look the prettiest, and put those into a small container; store, covered, in the fridge. Of those remaining, use half to form a layer in each cup over the chocolate Neufchatel. Add a second layer of chocolate Neufchatel, and a second layer of strawberries.
Cover each cup with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than one day.
Right before serving, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and chocolate liquor in a bowl. Blend with an immersion blender to get a fluffy cream, for about 10 to 15 seconds. To avoid splatter, paper towels can be placed perpendicular to the edge of the bowl, just allowing enough room for the immersion blender, blocking some of the stray bits of cream. The results will not be as light as whipped cream, but they should be noticeably fluffier than the original cream.
Remove the cups from the fridge. Add a layer of the cream and garnish with the set-aside strawberry slices and chopped chocolate chips.
Makes three to four servings.
Cost per serving: $1.97 for three servings, $1.48 for four servings
Calories per serving: 502 for three servings, 377 for four servings