Best Ever Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes with a Nutella crust, topped with chocolate hearts & a chocolate-stuffed raspberry center. They really are the Best Mini Cheesecakes Ever!


Note: The first half of this post is a little sad and not at all about mini cheesecakes. If you prefer to get right into the mini cheesecakes and skip the sad dog story – which I totally get – scroll down to where the photos of the mini cheesecakes begin toward the bottom.

I spoke the words out loud today. The words that have been circling in the back of my mind for months, waiting patiently to come to the surface until my emotions were ready for them.

It happened when we let our 12-yr-old dog, Jigs, out of the office where he’d been waiting for the guy from Lowe’s to finish rolling our new dishwasher into the kitchen. Jigs likes people, and while that’s a really great thing, we didn’t want distractions while work was going on. Turns out the dishwasher had a major dent, the Lowe’s guy hauled it away, and within five minutes Jigs hobbled back into the living room, back over to his well-worn spot next to the fireplace.

And he was peeing the entire time.

And didn’t know it.

“Jigs is peeing! Jigs is peeing!” Alan grabs him and tries to get him outside as quickly as possible. I grab a roll of paper towels and frantically begin cleaning up the mess.

I’m wondering why I don’t just let it soak in to match the rest of the stains he’s left behind.

Alan comes back in the room and that’s when I say it. Those four little words that I knew were there but haven’t wanted to face.

“I think it’s time.”

And then I cried.

Jigs came to live with us when he was four months old. Alan and I had gone to the pet store to get a fish and came home with a puppy. A super cute pit-lab mix with so much personality it was literally impossible not to love him. Petsmart had been hosting an adopt-a-thon for the local shelter and there was no way I was going to let this cute puppy not be loved for one more minute.

Did I mention that we lived in a 600-sq foot apartment in San Diego at the time and they didn’t allow dogs over 20 lbs?

So we moved.

Into a house with a big backyard with a fence. And when Alan finished his masters degree and it was time to move again, Jigs went with us.

He’s now lived with us through six moves and three states.

But that’s another story.

He’s been a great dog. The best. He never barks unless there’s a reason to and – with the exception of a scuffle with a few of our current neighbors – everyone has always loved him. Our old mailman used to bring treats on his route just for Jigs and would come into our yard to play with him. A neighbor in our last ‘hood who shared part of our fence asked us if he could put a gate in just so he could let Jigs in his yard whenever he felt like it. The guys dog used to jump the fence and come over to play; we’d see the Irish Setter at our back door and yell, “Jiiiigs, you have a playdate!”

Jigs now has severe skin issues that we’re spending thousands of dollars to cope with. His behavior is erratic in recent months (remind me to tell you the story of how he ate a Duraflame log – and no, he wasn’t hungry) and his current bladder issues are just one of many. But we love him. He’s part of our family.

These are all the things that are going through my mind after I clean up the mess and resume my computer duties. When I realize I’m staring at the screen not getting a thing done, I decide that I should do what every mom/cook/dog lover would do in this situation.

I made mini cheesecakes.

A lot of them.

Because cheesecake fixes everything. At least temporarily.

valentines day cheesecake

And y’ know what? It lifted my spirits. It made life seem just a bit brighter.

I swear that it even lifted Jigs spirits. I mean, c’mon, even a dog would smile at cute little mini cheesecakes with chocolate hearts.

I’m not sure if he sensed that I was upset or if it’s all in my crazy head, but I swear he had a spring in his step that hasn’t been there for awhile. Or maybe I just wanted there to be a spring, was looking for a spring. Either way, I’m pretty sure the ol’ boy hasn’t given up on himself yet. So I won’t either, buddy.

I might have to bake one heck-of-a-lotta cheesecakes, but we’ll get through it.

mini cheesecakes

These mini cheesecakes were good.

Notice I used past-tense there?

They were really good. And so stinkin’ cute I could hardly stand myself.

I had a new pan and I wanted needed to use it. Then I combined these cute hearts with these cute chocolate-stuffed raspberries and these 3-ingredient Nutella Cookies.

I know. Total Mini Cheesecake Awesomeness.

So first…the crust.

I crushed enough of those Nutella Cookies to make about a cup of crumbs. Mixed in 2 tablespoons of melted butter and added a heaping teaspoon to each well.

nutella cookie crust

Next, I tamped each one down with the greatest tool every created. Also known as the Pampered Chef Mini Tart Shaper (but it has sooo many other uses – like forming cheesecake crusts).

forming cheesecake crusts

The next steps are been there, done that steps…mix together your filling, pour into pan, bake.

If you want to put chocolate-stuffed-raspberries in the center like I did – and who are we kidding, of course you want to – add half of your batter, drop in a raspberry, and fill the rest of the way. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And while they’re baking, you can make your chocolate hearts. Be sure to sprinkle on cute Valentine’s sprinkles – or St. Patty’s Day, or Fourth of July, or Halloween, etc. – all over the chocolate before it hardens. Do this quickly because the hearts aren’t going to wait all day.

They’re chocolate. They can do what they want.

When your mini cheesecakes are cooled, push them up from the bottom to remove from pan. Don’t follow the directions that come with the box – if you use a knife to help them release, they won’t look all smooth and pretty.

Set the mini cheesecakes on parchment paper (or foil very lightly sprayed with oil). Drizzle chocolate over them. Use these disposable bags because they are awesome and are microwavable which means you can melt the chocolate right in the bag.

Place one of your cuter-than-cute chocolate hearts on your fabulous mini cheesecakes.

Call everyone in your family to gather around your works of art and demand that they swoon appropriately.

chocolate hearts

Eat. And feel better.

Then take the rest to your neighbor so that they feel better, too.

Repeat as many times as necessary.

Best Ever Mini Cheesecakes

Best Ever Mini Cheesecakes


  • 1 cup crushed Nutella Cookies (or chocolate wafers)
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 12 raspberries, stuffed with chocolate chips (white or dark)
  • melted chocolate for hearts and drizzling over cheesecakes (preferably different colors for contrast, but use whatever you’ve got)
  • sprinkles of your choice


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease mini-cheesecake pan.
  2. Place a heaping teaspoon (more or less, depending on how much you like crust) in each cheesecake well. Press down with tamper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Fill wells 1/2 full and add one raspberry to each well. Fill with the rest of the batter. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cool.
  5. Meanwhile, pipe chocolate hearts onto parchment paper or lightly greased tinfoil. Work quickly and add sprinkles before chocolate hardens to ensure they stick well. Allow to harden.
  6. Push each cheesecake out of its well from the bottom. With a thin spatula, remove each cheesecake from the bottom plate and place on parchment paper or lightly greased tinfoil. Drizzle with melted chocolate and place a chocolate heart on each cheesecake.


  1. says

    2 of my dear friends have had to put their dogs down just in the last 3 weeks. It’s been awful. Beyond awful. You know I have two Beagles…my first babies. Going on 13 now. They don’t see as well, hear as well, smell as well (that’s huge for a Beagle.) It’s completely depressing and I will surely need to be committed when that dreadful day comes to make the painful decision. Now I need mini cheesecakes.

  2. Raquel says

    I’ve been through this with a cat I had for almost 18 yrs. It was the 2nd hardest thing I’ve ever done. The hardest was losing my mom. But he’ll let you know when it’s time. I know it’s hard, and I wish you must love and more memories while he’s still around.

    • says

      Thank you so much, Raquel. I can’t even think about losing my mom…that would be cheesecakes, trifles, 12 different batches of cookies and a whole bunch of creme brulee…and it still wouldn’t be enough.

  3. says

    Ahhhh, poor Jigs. Sad when we have to make decisions about our family members lives. So sad. I had to put my cat to sleep last year after getting hit by a car and breaking his back..and we only had him a year, so I can’t imagine having an animal that long and having to make that decision.
    The cheesecakes would definitely be a temporary fix

    • says

      Poor kitty! I had a cat once that I raised from two weeks old. Her mother had abandoned her and I had to bottle-feed her. She, too, was hit by a car although she died right away. It was already a terrible time in my life and that just made it so much worse. Amazing how attached we can get to our animals.

  4. says

    I have been cruising your blog (love it) in my google reader reviewing old posts. So sorry to hear about Jigs, we are in process of adopting two pups for our 2girls and they are so excited. sending you hugs!

  5. says

    I am so sorry to hear about your dog, I can’t even imagine what it must be like. Not that it really matters in comparison, but your photography is stunning and the cheesecakes look beautiful and delicious.

    • says

      Jenny, It does matter, and thank you for that. My last post actually talked about my struggles with photography so hearing that put a big smile on my face. Thanks for the kind words about Jigs and for taking the time to comment. Means more than you know! HUGS!

  6. says

    Cheesecake fixes are absolutely right, Kristy! I have a dog and at times when we wish to go out its hard to leave him behind in someones hand. Love the pictures and that cute little heart over it!

  7. says

    And I’m so sorry about your dog. I had to let go of my golden retriever, Carter, who also lived with me in numerous NYC apartments before coming all the way to Rome with us. Bless your heart. It’ll get better.

    • says

      Thanks, Charity, what a sweet comment. I love Golden Retrievers; we have to have short-haired dogs because of my husband’s allergies otherwise I’d have one. And now I’m off to check out your blog, too! xo

  8. says

    We too have a dog that we have had for a long time. Poor thing has something growing on her side. We thought it was a tumor, but with as big as it is she would probably be dead. We think it is an infection. I would love to take her to the vet, but money is just too tight now. I feel for her. She is so sweet and I just can’t let go of her yet.
    Your cheese cakes are too cute and look delicious!

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear that. But she must really be suffering if it is an infection; I know just a sinus infection makes me miserable. Maybe there’s a low cost clinic nearby? You could always just call a vet and ask what their options are.

      I’m glad you like the cheesecakes! :-)

  9. Vivian says

    These are just amazing! They would have been perfect for Valentine’s Day but I think I will bake them again for my 1 year anniversary coming up ;)

  10. says

    I have a sweet tooth, and I also love coffee. This would pair up deliciously with a nice warm cup of java! Thanks for sharing! I always look forward to reading your posts and getting new recipe ideas.

  11. Carlos Mencia says

    I moved to New Jersey from Honduras. 2 weeks days after I left Honduras, I got a call from my parents that the dog I had for 17 years died. I always felt guilty that it was because I left. It is the saddest thing when dogs get sick or die. Cheer up my friend. Cheesecake looks delicious.

  12. Shannon Sachvie says

    Very nice recipe! Looks so good! This would cheer me up on the worst day ever. In regards to Jigs, what ever you do, do NOT watch Marley and Me.

  13. says

    I DO understand. We had to let our beloved 16+ (!) year old golden go last month and it has left a hole in our hearts and our lives. BUT it was time. I struggled for a year, debating quality of life issues. I didn’t want to feel like I was giving up on him, when he had always been there for us. In the end what helped me make the decision was an article by a vet who said,” If your pet is going downhill fast, what are you waiting for? Do you want him to hit bottom?” And I obviously didn’t want to see our sweet puppy in pain. I always promised him that I would take care of him. In the end, it was my job to do that. My heart is with you and your family. Give Jigs a hug from me :)

  14. says

    May be a silly question; however, your instructions state to pop these out of the pan from the bottom. With traditional metal muffin pans, that’s not possible. What kind of pan did you use?

  15. Lisa says

    The hardest choice was made….I had to decide to let my horse go…the hardest choice to make. :-( HUGS

    I have a question about the cheesecakes? How do you know when they are done? I baked as long as stated, but when I tested them the toothpick came out runny….Do they continue to bake when they are out of the oven? Or do they set up when cold? I don’t want to overbake…I love cheesecakes…I just don’t understand how long to bake and when to tell they are done. I have the same pans….Thank you.

    • says

      They won’t continue to bake for long out of the oven. Cheesecakes can be tricky, you want them thisclose to being set but not quite, otherwise they can be overdone. You definitely don’t want them runny though, so I would leave them in just until the center just barely jiggles (or do the toothpick test since it’s much easier). Hope that helped!


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