This recipe is an easy way to make a spectacular dessert for a special someone as a special romantic gesture or any other special occasion deserving of a delectable after-dinner treat! Nutella cheesecake minis make 3 four-inch desserts, just enough to share with your special someone and give to another loved one! I don’t usually toot my own horn, but these are truly so delicious! We are a Nutella-loving household, we even add nutella to our breakfast oats, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to create a creamy Nutella cheesecake for my loved ones and now I’m sharing it with you. It’s a great recipe and easy enough for anyone to make!
Why make mini cheesecakes?
If you’ve ever made a cheesecake from scratch you know that they take a long time to bake and chill. The following recipe for mini cheesecakes takes half the time to bake and chill! Also, the end product comes in a fabulous, delicious little package perfect as a generous individual-size cheesecake or a small cheesecake big enough to for two to enjoy together without being over-filling.
Let’s say you’re making this for a loved one on a romantic day like Valentine’s Day. The last thing you want is to over-stuff yourself on a rich dessert so you’re miserable the rest of the night, but you still want to enjoy that rich dessert in mini form! These little cheesecakes are the perfect solution.
How to Make Nutella Cheesecake Minis
For these small cheesecakes, I like to use 4 inch springform pans. Wilton sells a great 3 pack on Amazon that I really like.
Making the Crust
I’ve seen some Nutella cheesecakes made with oreo cookies, but I really prefer a more classic graham cracker crust, or hard biscuit base. I think an oreo crust takes away too much from the hazelnut flavor of Nutella and crushed graham or biscuits. The crust for this recipe gives just the right amount of texture and sweetness to balance out this Nutella cheesecake recipe. I like to use my food processor to grind up the graham crackers, then add melted butter and a little sugar. Mix it up really well till it’s like a sandy mixture.
Making the Cheesecake Filling
The filling is similar in texture and flavor of a classic NY style cheesecake because of the addition of sour cream. I think sour cream gives these an extra creamy cheesecake filling and an amazing light and fluffy texture which makes these mini desserts stand out. I like all of my ingredients for the cream cheese mixture to be room temperature.
Cooling the Cheesecakes
To avoid cracks, it’s best to cool the cheesecakes slowly. Once the baking is complete, turn off the oven and crack it open for 15 minutes. Then allow to cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes on your counter. Finally, transfer the pans to the refrigerator to fully cool for at least another 30 minutes.
Making Chocolate Ganache Drip Topping
This is optional and you will absolutely love these cheesecakes without the ganache, but the drip topping just adds an extra element of beauty and of course, chocolate! It takes the cheesecake from Wow to Woah! Be sure the cheesecakes are fully chilled before adding the topping.
How do you keep the cheesecake from cracking?
The key to keeping your cheesecake from cracking or sinking is firstly, patience. Secondly, you use that patience to wait for it to cool slowly. After the cheesecake is done baking, turn off the oven and let them sit 15 minutes with a cracked open oven door. Then cool slightly on a cooling rack and then the refrigerator. Slow cooling is best for cheesecake. The time would be much longer if you were making a full size cheesecake.
Do I need to use a water bath for my cheesecakes?
These mini Nutella cheesecakes do not require a water bath due to their small size. If this was a recipe for a traditional, large NY Style Cheesecake, you’d definitely want to use a water bath while baking to even out the baking and keep the cheesecake from sinking and cracking. This is another reason I like the option of making mini cheesecakes because it’s easy for even a rookie to bake, with less hassle.
What you need to Make Nutella Cheesecake Minis:
- 3 mini 4-inch springform pans
- Graham Crackers- A little less than 1 pack.
- Butter- unsalted sweet cream butter is what I use.
- Sugar, a little for the crust and some for the Nutella cheesecake mixture
- Cream cheese- You can use any brick-style cream cheese, but make sure you let it get to room temperature. I can not guarantee a whipped cream cheese will come out the same. My recent cream cheese discovery is from Costco that from Denmark that I really like. (Arla Dofino Cream Cheese)
- Nutella- You can substitute with other hazelnut chocolate spread, but I cannot guarantee the consistency and outcome will be the same.
- Vanilla extract
- Salt- I use fine ground sea salt
- Sour cream- real, full fat sour cream is the best for this.
- Egg- 1 extra large egg is all you need for this ( that’s a bonus these days with egg prices =)
Making Chocolate Ganache
Traditional chocolate ganache is made with heavy cream & chocolate. I made this one with half & half because that is what I usually have on hand at home. If you have heavy cream, you can simply skip the butter. I only add butter to this ganache to add a little fat to make up for the half & half. This way you have 2 options to make the ganache. You’re welcome.
- Half & Half (if you have heavy cream you can skip the butter)
- Semi-sweet chocolate- I usually have chips on hand, but if you don’t have chips, simple chop up the chocolate.
- butter- I use unsalted sweet cream butter.
Options for Serving the Nutella Cheesecake
- Just add a little whipped cream on top when ready to serve
- Top with red berries: strawberries or raspberries are great!
- Top with a Ferrero Rocher, cut in half or whole
Here are some other recipes you might enjoy!
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Nutella Cheesecake Minis
- 8 oz cream cheese room temp.
- 1/2 cup Nutella room temp.
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temp.
- 1 egg room temp.
- 1/4 cup half and half if you have heavy cream you can skip the butter
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips This is about 3 ounces
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp instant coffee Optional - I love the subtle coffee taste in the ganache
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Make sure springform pans have bottoms properly positioned (I like to have the lip edge face down for these minis) and spray the inside of pans with cooking oil spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together crust ingredients: graham cracker, butter & sugar
- Once mixed thoroughly to wet sand-like consistency, divide evenly among the 3 pans and use a flat bottom glass (a pint glass would do) to press down and flatten the crust real tight up against the springform bottom.
- Bake in the oven 8 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Let the pans cool to the touch on a cooling rack.
- Then mix in sour cream and egg, mix well till there are no clumps or white spots.
- If your pans are cool enough to handle and crust is cool to touch you can go ahead and add your filling to the pans, evenly dividing among the 3 pans.
- Tap each pan on the counter for about 30 seconds, just to make sure there are no air bubbles. Important Note: I highly recommend lining the bottom of your oven with a large piece of foil or placing the pans on a baking sheet as they can leak liquid that will smoke in your oven. This wouldn't happen if they were in a water bath, but these are not. (I learned this the hard way =)
- Bake the cheesecake mini for 30 minutes or until the center is just slightly jiggly.
- Turn oven off, crack open the oven door and allow pans to start cooling slowly to help keep cakes from cracking. 15 minutes with the door cracked open, then 15 on a cooling rack on the kitchen counter, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for another 1 hour.
- This last step is optional, but highly recommended! Make a beautiful chocolate ganache for your minis.
- NOTEIf you do not want to make drips and you just want a thicker layer of chocolate on top of your cheesecake, add a Tablespoon at a time of your cream till you get the consistency you're looking for.
- Make a double boiler by boiling about an inch of water in a small pot and then a bowl on top for the steam to melt your chocolate.
- Once the pot is boiling, Add the chocolate, half & half and butter to a your double boiler pot and once the chocolate just starts melting, stir it all until the chocolate is a smooth, shiny consistency.
- Wait 10 minutes and then start dripping along the edge of the cheesecake, then swirl some on top and smooth it out. You can use just a spoon for this or a squeeze bottle, whatever works best for you.
- Chill in the fridge till you are ready to serve it.