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Small batch layered strawberry cheesecake

I love really anything with graham crackers, but add cheesecake and strawberries and I am extra in love. This recipe is meant to be made in a small quantity, with two to three servings at most, because it tastes best the day you make it or the day after. I promise you’ll be excited to enjoy the whole thing!

You'll start by lightly melting and almost browning your butter, adding in a little bit of brown sugar and salt and then mixing in your crushed graham cracker. This will create the most incredible layer of crunch in your layered dessert and just the right amount of toasty flavor.


For the cheesecake layers, I recommend using a stand or hand mixer. You certainly could do this by hand with a whisk but you'll get quite the workout! This piece comes together in just a few minutes and the end result is a luscious cheesecake mixture that will firm up and set slightly in the fridge while still maintaining a soft and delicious texture.


I think strawberries are the perfect fruit for this dessert, but you can absolutely get creative here with different berries or even bananas. I like that the strawberries add both a burst of flavor and of color to really make the dessert come together.


You could absolutely dive right in when you assemble your dessert, but if you give it a couple of hours to set in the fridge it will taste that much better. Your graham layers will get to the perfect level of crunch, and your strawberries will have time to marry with your creamy cheesecake.


I love the idea, similar to my heart shaped chocolate chip cookies, of prepping this dessert before dinner and then enjoying afterwards! It makes it the perfect dessert for a galentine's or valentine's day celebration to enjoy with a loved one, or of course to treat yourself!


For layering your cheesecake, I learned a trick in a virtual class I took led by Christina Tosi to take an old or inexpensive spoon and bend it so that it made an L shape. You can then use the spoon to spread things like frosting, or this cheesecake layer, smooth over any crumb. I highly recommend this method, and you'll want to move without lifting up the spoon so you don't mix your layers too much. Any tool will work though that can reach down into your jar or cup!

Ingredients:

Graham layer

  • 2 graham cracker sheets 31g

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 28g

  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar 4g

  • Pinch of salt

Cheesecake layer

  • 4 oz cream cheese 114g

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar 40g

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Strawberries

  • 1/2 cup strawberries 85g / 3oz

Total time: About two and a half hours including chill time

Prep time: About 15 minutes

Chill time: 2 hours


Equipment:

  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment (or hand mixer)

  • Spatula or large spoon

  • Stovetop pan

  • Mason jar or 16 ounce cup

  • Plastic bag

Cooking instructions:

Place your graham cracker sheets into a plastic bag and seal it. Use a heavy tool with a flat surface (or I like to use a rolling pin) to break your graham into a powder, or close to it. You can also use a food processor for this if you'd like but it should break down quickly.


Onto your stovetop, add your butter on a medium to heat and allow it to melt until it begins to bubble. Add in your brown sugar and salt and mix together, turning the heat down if your butter is bubbling too much. Then, add in your crushed graham and mix together to lightly toast and combine.


Once your graham is fully combined with your butter mixture, set it aside off the heat in your pan or a separate bowl.

Meanwhile, into your stand mixer with a whisk attachment or bowl with a hand mixer, whip your cream cheese until smooth, about a minute.


Scrape down the sides of your bowl and whisk attachment and add in your vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Then turn your mixer back on slowly back up to a high speed to continue combining your mixture and whipping in some air. Let this continue for about a minute.

Scrape down the sides of your mixer again and then you’ll pour in your heavy cream. Turn your mixer back on slowly back up to a high speed. Your mixture will begin to come together and you want to continue mixing until you can lift your whisk and see your mixture remain with a stiff point on the edge, holding its shape. Your mixture should look glossy and smooth.


Grab your strawberries and cut them to your liking. I like to do small cubes so that they’re bite sized.

Get your mason jar or a 16 oz cup and it’s time to assemble. I like to go in this order for my layers from bottom to top:

  1. Graham

  2. Cheesecake

  3. Strawberries

  4. Cheesecake

  5. Graham

  6. Cheesecake

  7. Strawberries

  8. Cheesecake

  9. Graham

The toughest part is the first layer of cheesecake. Do your best to spread it evenly on top of your graham cracker crumb, without letting any of the crumb come through the surface. Know that it doesn’t need to be perfect. As you go you’ll want to smooth out your cheesecake layers to the edge of your cup as much as possible, and aim to get as much coverage as you can with your graham and strawberry layers too.

Once you’re done with your layering, cover your jar or cup and place it into the fridge for about 2 hours. You can eat it right away but it’ll taste even better if you let it set for a couple of hours.

I recommend enjoying the same day when it’s the freshest but it will still taste delicious the next day too. Enjoy!


Carb and serving info:

Servings: 2 to 3

Carbs per serving (1/3): 28

Carbs per serving (1/2): 42

Carbs for full recipe: 84


Adjust the following if you use an ingredient replacement with a different amount of carbs!

Carbs from graham cracker: 24

Carbs from powdered sugar: 40

Carbs from strawberries: 6.5


Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.

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