Monday, January 17, 2011

No-Bake Shot Glass Cheesecakes

I made up the recipe for these little cheesecakes for my first catering job. My church held a Women's brunch and asked me to make 6 centerpieces with small desserts. The cheesecakes were the favorite among the women and have been a staple dessert for all my catering events. I love them for three reasons. First, they just looks so cute. Second, they're the perfect size if you just want a taste, not a whole slice of cheesecake (See? It's healthy...ish...) And finally, everything is better in a shot glass.

I've made these cheesecakes several times, and I think I've finally perfected it. At least that's what my taste testers (mom and boyfriend) said. This time around I used Mascarpone cheese in place of one brick of cream cheese and the final dessert was lighter and less tangy than the original recipe. It's a keeper!

These are really easy and fun to make, and they're always the talk of the party. They're great for birthday parties, socials, and dinner parties. You can experiment with different toppings or mix fresh fruit into the cheesecake itself...Or better yet, let your guests top their glasses with their choice of topping. Shot glasses can get expensive. If you want to keep it budget-friendly and easy to clean up, buy a pack of plastic shot glasses. I like to use candle votives instead of actual shot glasses. I find that they're a bit larger, and you can buy a whole case of them for much less than shot glasses.

Happy Baking!

Mix the cheesecake 'batter' and the graham cracker crust.

These votives came packaged in a plastic tray that holds each glass and a similar tray that fits over top. They then slide into a plastic box. I kept the packaging to hold them while I fill them and transport them.
Use a tablespoon to measure out the crust (or if you're a gadget lover like me, #70 scoop) and fill each shot glass.

Press the crust into the bottom of the glass, I like to use a tart press. Don't pack it too tight. Just enough to hold it's shape.

The crust should be about 1/2 inch high

Here's a trick of the trade: Place your pastry bag in a tall drinking glass, fold down the top of the bag over the sides of the glass and fill with the batter.

Pull the top up of the bag, twist to close and cut the tip

Pipe the batter with one lifting motion

And smooth the top of each cheesecake with a small spatula

Top with your choice of fruit preserves, ice cream topping, jams or fresh fruit.

No-Bake Shot Glass Cheesecakes
Yields about 20

16 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, slightly softened
3 cups Cool-Whip
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
7 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 jars of any fruit ice cream topping, jam, or preserves

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. The crumbs should be moist, but not wet, and should hold together when pressed in place. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese, Mascarpone cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat in 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar. Slowly mix in the Cool-Whip, and then remaining 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar. Slowly mix in enough milk to make the batter the consistency of a fluffy frosting.

Spoon the cheesecake batter into a piping bag. Cut the tip where the bags width is about 3/4 inch.
Drop 1 tablespoon of graham cracker crust into each shot glass and press down with the tablespoon or something flat. (I used a tart press) Place the tip of the pastry bag into each shot glass, squeeze and fill the glass with one lifting motion (this ensures the glass fills evenly), leaving 3/4 inch at the top unfilled. Use the back of the spoon or a small spatula to smooth the top of the cheesecake. Finally, spoon the fruit topping over the cheesecake, almost to the rim of the glass. Wipe off the edges with a damp cloth. Keep refrigerated.


  1. Yum-a-licious!! And they are gorgeous as well!!

  2. Those do look delicious! But I must disagree with the 'everything is better in a shot glass' comment. You see, back in college, we'd often finish off a night at the bars with a shot of tequila - don't ask why, it was college. Well, often times, that didn't turn out to be the best decision, making me believe that the tequila would have been better had it stayed in the bottle, and not found its way to a shot glass in front of me ...

  3. When I get back to the U.S. I will definitely be making those!

  4. OMG - these look so good!

    Question, though: we don't get graham crackers or Cool-Whip in Oz. What's would work as a good substitute?

  5. Jen, instead of graham crackers, you can try using crushed animal crackers or crispy cookie crumbs. As for the cool-whip, you can use homemade whip cream. Just make it thicker than normal, and fold it into the batter instead of mixing it.

    Thanks for reading, guys!

  6. That's lovely, Keaton. I think I'm gonna make it.

  7. Randomly found you. Making these for my sisters bridal shower. Thanks so much for the marscapone variation! you rock. i am topping them with peach mango jelly.

  8. can this be made a few days in advance and frozen?

  9. how long does the cheese take to set? i only have an hour to make it so i'm thinking about making these.

  10. Keaton- Made this for my Oscar party last night! Delicious!

  11. Keaton- loved the recipe- a great hit at the Oscar party last night! I ended up using strawberries for the topping..vs. jelly! Here' the pic!

  12. Jean (above), use digestive biscuits instead of graham crackers. Delicious, crumbly substitute.

    Also whip thickened cream to replace the cool whip, to stiff-ish peaks (just don't whip into butter).