Just after Christmastime, I made one of my favorite purchases of the year: new calendars. Choosing one is almost impossible for me, so I usually wind up with five or six lining the walls of my office or bedroom. The greatest find of 2011 is my cupcake calendar, though — 365 days of cupcake recipes and delectable photos!
Since I started pulling apart my page-a-days, I’ve kept all sorts of delicious concoctions for future trial and error. And last Friday I found myself wandering the grocery store with this recipe in hand, intrigued by the odd combination of flavors.
Anything with graham cracker crumbs is all right by me, friends. In fact, that’s what really prompted me to save this recipe in the first place: the promise of graham-and-honey goodness. I already had many of the ingredients on hand, by some miracle, so it was just a matter of finding the orange extract and ricotta cheese.
Don’t let a mention of “cheese” freak you out. Ricotta is creamy and sweet — the same filling used in cannoli. Adding in the walnuts gives these cheesecake desserts a nice texture, too, and some added crunch — and I love the hint of orange in the cheese batter. After trying one, Spencer mentioned that almond extract might taste delicious instead of the orange . . . and he’s probably right. I think I’ll try that next time.
The original recipe from the calendar stated this recipe would produce a dozen cupcakes, but that was so wrong. After filling 12 muffin liners, my batter hadn’t even been dented. I quickly whipped up another batch of the graham/honey/butter combination and made 12 more. The recipe below reflects my changes because I couldn’t, in good conscience, lead you kind folks to believe you’d have only a dozen of these babies when done.
Though the ricotta cheesecake cupcakes won’t help me fit into my bridesmaid dress before September, they will help me sleep better. I recommend consuming a half dozen before bedtime for sweet, sweet dreams.
Ricotta Cheesecake Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from The Cupcake Calendar by Sellers Publishing
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp. margarine, melted
4 tbsp. honey
2 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. orange extract
1/2 cup walnut halves
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place 24 baking cups in muffin pans.
In a food processor, combine the cracker crumbs, margarine and honey. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each cup, pressing firmly into the bottom. Chill until set.
In a large bowl, beat the ricotta with an electric mixer until soft. Then beat in the eggs, confectioners’ sugar, and orange extract. Fold in the walnuts. Spoon the mixture into the cups.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack. Chill until ready to serve.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Makes 24 cupcakes.