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Blog Archive Entry

Eliminating the Middle Stick

Special thanks to Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell for hosting this month’s cheesecake challenge from Jill O’Connor’s cookbook, Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.

For me, cheesecakes fall under the small category of mystical foods. It might just be my over-indulging tendencies, but it seems like I can never say no to a slice of heavenly cheesecake, no matter how full I am. Of course, in order to make myself feel better before taking part in one of the seven deadly sins, I always preface my request by asking for a tiny slice (adding more and more diminutive adjectives relative to how stuffed I feel at the moment).

This is my second challenge for the Daring Bakers and, at first, I was ambivalent at the idea of making cheesecake. Upon reading the challenge, two annoying voices consumed my thoughts – one asked me to double the recipe while the other insisted that I halve it. Of course, there was no getting past the evil snicker behind the little devil persuading me to double it, so I fought my temptation and decided to half the recipe.

As a college student, I cut corners wherever I can. In fact, I’m the student who will buy used text books not to get extra booze money, but rather to buy myself Crate & Barrel’s hottest serving platters. By admitting to my (sad, but true) weakness, I hope you will all understand why I had to cut out the middle stick: buy me!

mise en place

When I was given the liberty to create my own flavor combination (so long as I preserved the basic recipe) I started imagining a whole range of possibilities and decided to go with the classic orange-chocolate duo. The chocolate, of course, is brought to you by yours truly, the ubiquitous Oreo cookie.

3-step mini Oreo crusts

Muffin tins are one of my favorite pans because they lend themselves perfectly for a variety of hors d’oeuvres (e.g. tapas), desserts or other tiny edibles. They also drastically cut down baking time, which I’m always a fan of. 

candied orange zest on top

After inverting them, I decided to garnish each cup with a basic cream cheese frosting (1 part cream cheese, 1 part powdered sugar, 1/4 part butter, dash of pure vanilla) and sugared orange zest. To make the sugared orange zest, all you have to do is rub the zest of an orange with some sugar until the sugar turns orange and the air around you begins to smell like an orange grove.

Cheesecake Cups

Cheesecake Cups

(adapted from Jill O’Connor’s recipe)

(yields approx. 24 cups)


  • 2.5 8-oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 15 Oreo cookies
  • 4 tbsp. butter, unsalted
  • Boiling water, as needed

Putting them all together

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Melt butter and set aside to cool. Use some of this butter to butter your mini muffin tins.
  3. Crush Oreo cookies and mix with melted butter. Add one heaping teaspoon to each cup and compact with your favorite shot glass.
  4. Process all the ingredients (at room temperature) in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Fill each cup and bake in a water bath for 10-15 minutes. They should be slightly jiggly.
  6. Run a knife around the edges, cover with plastic wrap and store in your freezer until ready to decorate.
  7. Decorate with your favorite Cream Cheese Frosting and top with sugared orange zest.


Posted in desserts, recipe by Antonio Tahhan on April 27th, 2008. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “Eliminating the Middle Stick”

honeyb Says:

Yum! Orange and Chocolate! Its funny, I know exactly what your talking about when your using all those adjectives to describe just how full you are!

sheltie girl Says:

I love orange and chocolate too. You did a fabulous job on your pops.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

*fanny* Says:

Gotta love the ’15 oreos – 2 for snacking’. Whenever I make a recipe that calls for chocolate, I always save a couple of suqraes for myself!

xx fanny

teresa Says:

Antonio, te han quedado preciosos, esta vez como la anterior tambien yo hice la mitad de los ingredientes.
Me encanta la presentación que le diste, pero ….. donde está el palito, no eran pops¡¡¡

Por cierto me encanta como presentas tus ingredientes no te extrañe si un dia te lo copio.

Felicidades, como siempre, genial¡¡¡

deborah Says:

I love orange and chocolate! A very elegant looking dessert.

ohia Says:

oooh you’re a rule breaker, huh. i like it. the sticks were a pain in the neck anyway. i think i’m going to give this a shot. i love your photography by the way.

gigi Says:

I just love the mini cheesecakes! Very cute and well executed!

laurie Says:

Very Très Chic! And orange and chocolate…yum! Very elegant indeed. 🙂

meeta Says:

Tony you are a genius I love your idea with the muffin pans. Makes me want to try this all over again. Perfection!

veron Says:

I love your presentation, the colors are amazin! And I love Crate and Barrel!

phemom Says:

Only 2 oreos for snacking? You are better disciplined than me. Seriously cute cheesecakes (and love the platters too)!

hilda Says:

En momentos como este me arrepiento muchisimo de haber abandonado mis estudios y la práctica del inglés.
Con gusto volveré a estudiar solo por leerte.
Felicidades por tu blog.


christina Says:

Wow, those look so good! And I really enjoyed reading your post!

What is that you used to tamp the crust with?

chris Says:

Yeah – those wouldn’t last long…During plating? One for the plate, one for me, one for the plate, one for me…lol Looks great!

big boys oven Says:

this really look so awesome, no need stick! cool dude!

jen yu Says:

Those are gorgeous. Even if they aren’t pops, I love the tiny servings (I’m a huge fan of little foods). So pretty – great job!

kevin Says:

Those cheesecake cups look and sound really good!

bethany Says:

oh, wow! you pictures are incredible. i really like your take on this one!

julia Says:

I am IN LOVE with your blog! The way you take a picture of all the ingredients first, all perfectly premeasured and labeled – brilliant!!

You were a bit of a rebel with your “pops” but I respect that. They were a big pain in the butt, but the recipe tasted really good. You were smart to do your own thing. 🙂

By the way, “olive juice”?? Did you see The Other Sister? Adorable!!

Melanie C. Says:

Those look really pretty and very delicious! I love your take on it–and I love the platter too! Nice pictures!!!

Hannah Says:

Very cute! Your pictures are really nicely composed, too.

My Sweet & Saucy Says:

I am all about minis…these look great!

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