These decadent mini s’mores cheesecakes feature a buttery graham cracker crust, creamy chocolate filling and melty chocolate ganache. And don’t forget the dreamy toasted meringue topping — no campfire required!
No need to head outdoors to get your s’mores fix this year, we’ve got you covered with these cheesecake cupcakes that highlight all the best parts of the summer treat! We start with a crunchy graham cracker crust, followed by chocolate cheesecake AND ganache, and then top it all off with an easy meringue topping toasted to perfection.
easy graham cracker crust
The only reasonable option for a s’mores cheesecake crust is, of course, graham cracker crumbs! Our crust is made with just two ingredients: crushed graham crackers and melted butter. Feel free to add a tablespoon or so of sugar to the mix if you’d like, but I prefer to leave it out as the rest of the cheesecake components definitely bring the sweetness!
For this recipe, we’ll be using a standard muffin tin. Line your muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners, divide your crust mixture evenly among the liners and press down. Bake for 5 minutes at 320 F (160 C) and make sure to let cool completely before moving to the next step.
chocolate cheesecake filling
Once the crust is cool, you can add your chocolate cheesecake filling!
Start by beating the cream cheese until smooth. Make sure it’s room temperature! This is the most important part of ensuring your cheesecakes won’t be lumpy!
Then mix in unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar, followed by sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.
Finally, add two eggs, beating after each addition. Beat until just combined — overbeating the eggs can add too much air to the mixture, which will affect the texture of your cheesecake.
Now just divide evenly among the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecakes are ready when the edges are mostly set, but the center is still quite jiggly.
Once your cheesecakes are cooled, it’s time for the toppings! This first topping is ganache made with just two ingredients: chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) and heavy cream. It’s completely optional, but I think it really gives the cheesecake cupcakes that ooey gooey, melty vibe that defines a s’more.
To make the ganache, simply bring the cream to a simmer on the stovetop, pour it over the chocolate and cover for three minutes. Now whisk the mixture together until smooth and your ganache is ready!
Before adding the ganache to the cheesecakes, I recommend letting it come to at least room temperature. You can even put it in the fridge for half an hour. This will let it set up just a bit so you get a nice thick layer of ganache. You can then either use a pastry bag to pipe the ganache or just spoon it onto the cheesecakes.
toasted meringue topping
And now my favorite part of the whole cheesecake: the toasted meringue topping! You’ll need egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar (optional) and a pinch of salt. Additionally, you’ll need a kitchen torch for the toasting.
To make the meringue, whisk together all of the ingredients in a metal bowl. Then make a double boiler by nesting the bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stovetop. Our goal here is to heat the mixture without cooking the egg whites. Whisk the mixture continuously until it reaches 160 F (71 C) with an instant read thermometer. This should only take about 5-6 minutes!
Once your meringue has hit the target temperature, break out your electric mixer and mix until stiff, glossy peaks form. If the meringue is still quite warm, let it sit a few minutes and then pipe onto the cheesecakes and toast to perfection. Only do this after the cheesecakes and ganache (if using) have completely chilled!
any alternatives to the toasted meringue topping?
If you’re not up to making the meringue or maybe you don’t have a kitchen torch, you could definitely just use marshmallows! If going this route, you’ll want to add them directly after the chocolate ganache to help them adhere better.
I also recommend pre-toasting your marshmallows in the oven until golden brown before adding to the cupcakes so you really get that toasty s’mores feel!
s’mores cheesecake cupcakes: FAQs
Make sure you’re using full-fat cream cheese in brick form (not from a tub) and let it come to room temperature before beginning. If you’re in a time crunch, you can place the cream cheese in the microwave on 50% power in ten second increments until just softened.
These mini cheesecakes will probably be ready sooner than you think! Don’t hesitate to take them out of the oven when the edges are mostly set and the center is still jiggly.
Yes! The cheesecakes and even chocolate ganache can be frozen, although the ganache has a better texture before freezing. I wouldn’t recommend freezing the meringue topping as it can deflate.
For more mini cheesecake inspiration, make sure to check out these recipes!
- mini lemon meringue cheesecakes
- mini mocha cheesecakes + white chocolate kahlua ganache
- mini pumpkin cheesecakes
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