These German Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes combine everyone's favorite German chocolate cake with rich homemade cheesecake into delicious individual desserts.
This recipe all started from the fact that I had graham crackers, chocolate grahams, and coconut cookies in my pantry. And so it began.
I actually made this dessert to donate for the "dessert dash" portion of my kids' old preschool's annual auction. I needed to make something that I could photograph and use for the blog before I sent it on its merry way. Could I make a whole cheesecake? Nope, unless you think the guests wouldn't mind getting something that I had already sliced up and took a bite out of because I had to know what I was talking about. You think they would care? I didn't want to risk it so I figured a whole cheesecake was out. What's the next best thing to, if not better than, a whole cheesecake? Well, that would be mini cheesecakes, of course. And what's better than cheesecake, if not a close second? German chocolate cake. What happens when you put the two together? Pure heaven.
I started with the base cheesecake recipe I used for my apple compote vanilla bean cheesecake. You'll find a lot of cheesecake recipes out there, but let me tell you, THIS one is the best. Once you try it, you'll never stray.
When I was looking for inspiration for the German chocolate portion, I saw a lot that used sweetened condensed milk and/or they didn't toast the coconut. I'm sorry, but both of those options were off the table for me. This topping ended up being absolutely divine. Then, once topped on the perfect little cheesecakes, it was perfection.
Coconut. Pecans. Chocolate. Cheesecake. Oh my.
I know what you're wondering... did I make extra so that I didn't have to send them all off to the auction? The answer to that, my friends, is "hell yeah I did".
This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
German Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes
- 10 ounces graham crackers (or you can use coconut cookies, chocolate grahams, or a combo)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 24 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 eggs (whole)
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Coconut Pecan Topping:
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (or flaked coconut)
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 large egg yolks (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the crust:
- Prepare two muffin pans with parchment muffin liners. If you only have one pan, you should cut the recipe in half or plan to put the other half of the ingredients in a springform pan.
- To make the crumbs, pulse in food processor until you only see fine crumbs, about 1 minute.
- Thoroughly combine crumbs and melted butter. Press an even layer firmly into bottom of each muffin liner, about a tablespoon in each cup.
To make the cheesecake filling:
- In a stand mixer bowl, beat cream cheese on medium high speed with the paddle attachment until completely smooth and fluffy, scraping occasionally, about 3 minutes.
- Add the sugar and cream mixture until well combined. Scrape again.
- Add whole eggs and egg yolks. Mix until combined. Scrape again.
- In a separate bowl mix cocoa powder, cornstarch, vanilla extract, almond extract, and heavy cream. Stir very well to get any and all cornstarch lumps out. Combine well with the cream cheese mixture. Pour batter into a clean bowl through a fine mesh strainer to ensure a super smooth consistency.
To bake cheesecake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour cheesecake batter onto crust filled liners. The level should be close to the top but not overflowing out of the paper.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees F and bake and additional 25-30 minutes.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill overnight in muffin pan before removing mini cheesecakes.
To make the coconut pecan topping:
- While the cheesecakes are cooking, toast the sweetened coconut and pecans over very low heat in large pan, stirring frequently. As soon as the coconut is mostly golden, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture just begins to boil and thicken, remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in the toasted coconut/pecan mixture and vanilla extract. Let cool until thickened, about 60 minutes. When ready to assemble, spoon some topping onto each mini cheesecake.