My old elementary school sat in the middle of a residential neighborhood, right around the corner from a grocery store. So a few times each week, Mom stopped the car in that parking lot on our way home to pick up vegetables for dinner or treats for our lunch boxes.
We always preferred it when Mom shopped at that supermarket as opposed to the one closer to our house because the bakery inside handed out free sugar cookies to any kid that came up to the counter. As long as you looked younger than 10, the workers gave you a treat, no questions asked.
But one December afternoon when Mom dropped by to grab groceries, the bakery had completely run out of sugar cookies—not a single crumb in sight! When Mom spotted the tears threatening to fall from our eyes, she immediately placed two large gingerbread men cookies from the bakery’s shelves into her basket so we could still have a treat.
Best mom ever!
That was one of the first times I ever tried a gingerbread man cookie, and while I adored the warm spicy flavor, I remember thinking he was a bit too crunchy. I’ve always preferred soft and chewy cookies! So when I started craving gingerbread this week, I decided to turn it into a smooth and creamy dessert—exactly the opposite of those cut-out cookies—and created these Mini Cranberry Gingerbread Cheesecakes!
For the spicy ginger flavor, I reached for Gourmet Garden’s new Lightly Dried Ginger. It’s found in the produce section of Safeway and Raley’s near the regular herbs. It tastes just as bright as freshly minced ginger, but it lasts for 4 weeks in the fridge! That’s perfect for people like me who only use a little at a time.
And of course, you can’t make gingerbread without molasses, so that went into the cheesecake batter too. Its rich flavor helps the ginger’s spicy notes shine, so please don’t skip it!
Just like with a regular-sized cheesecake, we’ll bake these minis low and slow until their centers just barely jiggle. Do not overbake them! Nobody likes rubbery cheesecake. These little treats take less than 20 minutes to bake, so stay close to the kitchen—and remember to chill them too!
The topping is extremely simple: just chopped fresh cranberries and sugar. Cook the cranberries on the stove for a few minutes until they’re tender. This brings out their rich red hues and helps reduce some of their tanginess. I still prefer the cranberries a little tart to contrast with the sweet cheesecake, but adjust the sugar to suit your taste.
Don’t they look so cute and festive?
With their warm wintery flavors, these Mini Cranberry Gingerbread Cheesecakes are ideal for holiday parties, especially for people like me who always linger around the dessert table. Their small size makes them so pop-able and easy to sneak seconds!
’Tis the season for sweet treats, right?
*This post was sponsored by Gourmet Garden. As always, all opinions, text, photographs, and recipe are my own.
A few of my blog friends also baked holiday recipes with Gourmet Garden’s Lightly Dried Ginger! They’re all incredibly gorgeous, so be sure to check them out!
Crazy for Crust: Chocolate Dipped Ginger Shortbread Cookies
The Food Charlatan: Frosted Peppermint Gingerbread Bars (Candy Lasses Bars)
French Press: Gingerbread Coffee Cake with Spiced Ginger Streusel
The Domestic Rebel: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Cups