Hump day and 2 days till we leave for vacation! The weather has been great in Wisconsin, but I can't wait to feel the ocean breeze on my skin and the cool water.
Kellen has been taking swimming lessons with my Mom on Wednesdays in preparation for the trip, but last week was the final class- I need to remember to call and sign them up for round 2! Kellen really enjoys the water and we are so lucky that my Mom loves to swim because with our work schedules it is hard to get to a class weekly.
On to the cheesecake.
I was looking for a cheesecake recipe to bring to Easter dinner and I found these Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes. Originally, I was thinking a salted caramel or toffee, but sometimes simple is better and I knew our family would love these little bites. The original recipe makes 8 mini cheesecakes, but I doubled it and came out with 18 mini cheesecakes. These were a big hit with my family and everyone said they were delicious! I loved how easy they were and that it was a perfect bite to end the meal. They also travel nicely and, even though it is a short, trip it is one less thing to worry about. The only changes I made to the recipe were minor, I used chocolate graham crackers over regular and opted for mini chocolate chips over regular sized chips. I love using mini chocolate chips in desserts like this because you get a lot morsel of chocolate in each bite. I also topped the cheesecakes with a little whipped cream and extra mini chocolate chips. (plain is delicious too if you prefer that).
Tonight, I am in pack mode for our trip. My goal is to get Kellen all squared away tonight and have my clothing and swim stuff packed. We are leaving right after I am done with work on Friday and I want to be set to go when Ron drives us to my parents house (Ron has to work and had to sit this trip out- next time!). I always buy myself a few new outfits for trips and am in love with a colorful maxi dress I got on Zulily- can't wait to put it on! Yesterday, I made a Target run for our toiletries and miscellaneous stuff (i.e. plane entertainment for Kellen). My in-laws are also coming for dinner and to spend a little time with Kellen before we leave for our trip.
Kellen is really excited to ride the plane and this will be his third plane ride and the shortest one to date. This trip will be about 3 hours which feels like a breeze compared to the 7 1/2 hours to Paris last summer! What I learned last time is to bring lots new books, stickers and snacks....made for a happy toddler. He also really liked playing puzzles on my Kindle. Kellen's cousin (he is 6) will be there as well and will probably have a movie they can watch together (Kellen s loving Lion King and Nemo lately).
Let the trip preparation begin!
2 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbl brown sugar
6 Tbl butter, melted
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (plus extra for topping)
Whipped Cream, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 cups of a muffin pan with paper liners.
To make to crust, mix together graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt. Pour in melted butter and stir with a small spatula to moisten all the crumbs.
Place about a tablespoon to one and a half tablespoon of crumb mixture in each of the prepared muffin cups and pack down into an even layer.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (you can usr hand held too), cream together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla extract. Fold in the mini chocolate chips and stir to evenly distribute.
Evenly divide cheesecake batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheesecakes are set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating.
To serve, add a whipped cream to each cheesecake and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.