Friday, March 25, 2016

Foodie Fridays: Mini Lemon Oreo Cheesecakes

For some reason I always associate lemons with springtime, even though I don't think the fruit even makes an appearance on the trees until summer.  I often serve lemon-flavored foods for Easter, and this year will be no exception.  I recently found a recipe for Mini Lemon Oreo Cheesecakes and decided that they would be the ideal dessert for our Easter brunch on Sunday.  I added even more lemon flavor to the original recipe by substituting lemon yogurt for the sour cream and lemon oil for the vanilla, because I am one of those people who thinks that no dessert can ever be too lemony.

I don't normally eat Oreos, and usually don't cook with processed foods, but lately I have been on a roll with recipes that take a familiar food and use it in a novel way (like the Tater Tots waffle from last week).  I figure you only live once, and it's okay to relax the rules once in a while, especially for the holidays, so I intend to enjoy these little cheesecakes now and get back to more sensible foods after Easter!

Mini Lemon Oreo Cheesecakes

12 Lemon Oreos
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat)
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. lemon Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
grated rind of 1/2 lemon (optional)
1/4 tsp. pure lemon oil (see Notes)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Line a 6-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners (I like to use foil liners).  Place one Lemon Oreo into the bottom of each cupcake liner.

Pulse the remaining six Lemon Oreos into fine crumbs in a food processor.  In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until well blended.  Blend in the yogurt, grated rind, and lemon oil.  Add the egg and blend in thoroughly.  Stir in the Lemon Oreo crumbs.  Spoon the cheesecake mixture evenly on top of each Lemon Oreo in the cupcake liners.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the centers are almost set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.  Serves 6.

Notes: I used Boyajian Pure Lemon Oil, because I happened to have some, but vanilla or lemon extract can be used instead.  For me, this recipe made enough filling for about eight or nine mini cheesecakes -- an added bonus!

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