I always forget that I love it (which is weird, I know), but when my taste buds are reunited with it, I instantly remember how much I love it. There’s something so unbeatable about that tangy sweetness and the lush fluffiness of a cheesecake.
Now, normally I’m not a big fan of fruit in my food. Don’t get me wrong, homegirl — I LOVE me some fruit & eat it constantly. I’m pretty sure my blood type is raspberries. But when it comes to fruit and food, I’m kind of on the fence.
This probably has to do with my grandma’s affinity for “fruit salads” and all the many versions of them I had to try growing up. I use the term “fruit salad” very lightly because it was probably as close to a fruit salad as a T-Bone steak is. Technically, it was a super sugary fruit cocktail mixed with Cool Whip and whatever else, yet the flavor was about as nonexistent as the nutritional value.
And for every family get-together, every dinner, every holiday, there was always some kind of fruit salad. And every time I was offered the salad, I would politely decline. But she would continually push the salad onto us like some kind of fruit cocktail drug dealer. “Want some salad?” she’d ask one minute. “Hayley, want some salad now?” she’d ask a little later. “Are you ready for some salad, Hayley?” “Try a little salad, Hayley.”
Orrrrr the time she put crushed pineapple in her sweet potatoes. OMFG NO. I was so stoked for my marshmallow-y, gooey sweet potatoes and after they hit my tongue my face distorted itself into some expression of disgust, shock and disappointment. Whaaaaat were pineapples doing all up in my yams? What kind of sick joke is this? Needless to say, that was a year I was yamless and offered to take care of the sweet potatoes after that.
Anyways, but lately I have been experimenting with reforming my ways. There are plenty of desserts out there that get their infamy from fruit: cobblers, crisps and shortcakes, to name a few. Also, all of the pies I like best are fruit-based: apple, blueberry, cherry… so I know I’m not past the point of no-return. Hence why I wanted to make a cheesecake topped with tons of luscious, fresh fruit and prove to myself I could eat it and like it.
And not surprisingly, this was pretty easy to do. Who would pass up a crispy sugar cookie cup filled with creamy cheesecake and topped with fruit? Especially that it isn’t fruit cocktail. Or called a fruit salad. And doesn’t have any surprise pineapple lurking anywhere that ruins your Thanksgiving. It’s just straight-up, easy-peasy, in yo face cheesecake cups. And you’ll LOVE them!
- 2 pkgs (24 count per pkg, or 48 total) refrigerated sugar cookies, room temperature
- 1 (8 oz) pkg reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip Free, thawed
- Fresh fruit (I used blackberries, strawberries, mango, peaches, and mandarin oranges, but feel free to use whatever you prefer/whatever is in season)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. VERY LIBERALLY grease 2 12-cavity standard-sized muffin tins with cooking spray and set them aside.
- Take two pre-portioned squares of sugar cookie dough and smash them together. Press them in the bottom and up the sides of a greased muffin cavity to form a cup of dough. Repeat with the remaining dough until all 24 cavities are filled.
- Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown and the centers are just about set. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. While the cookies cool in the pan, use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently create an indentation in the center of the cookie cup. This "well" will be used to put the cheesecake later.
- Very gently run a knife along the edge of each cookie cup and lift each cup out of the cavity. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with a handheld mixer until creamy. Fold in the Cool Whip gently to combine.
- Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each of the cookie "wells". Likewise, you could also pipe the cheesecake filling in if you'd like. Top each cheesecake cup with fresh fruit as desired. I garnished mine with lime zest, but feel free to garnish yours with leaves of mint, lemon zest, or orange zest. Serve immediately.
Aren’t these cookie cups gorgeous? Nothing beats the creamy, tangy cheesecake filling with the chewy, crispy-edged cookie cups. And the fresh fruit makes this dish healthy, so feel free to eat all the cookie cups you want without guilt 😉 these little bites of heaven won’t last long at your house and they certainly didn’t at mine.
Have a fantastical day!