I’ve been obsessed with chai flavored things for about a year now. It started with a trip to India, where I got to experience some amazing chai tea. Since then I’ve been playing with adding chai spices to things, and these chai cider cheesecake bites are my latest experiment. They’re also my version of the mini cheesecake challenge from this year’s Great British Baking Show. I’m calling them cheesecake bites instead of mini cheesecakes because I didn’t have the right type of molds to make mini cheesecakes, so I used a muffin tin. They came out tiny, but tiny things are cute, right!?
The key to getting the right consistency is boiling down the cider. It’s going to seem like you’re starting with a lot of cider, but trust me, it really packs in the flavor once it’s boiled down. Also, the base of the cheesecakes is a pecan shortbread. If you or someone you are cooking for has a nut allergy, you can replace the pecans with the same amount of flour and it will be fine.
If you make these chai cider cheesecake bites, please let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or on social media. You can find my other bake-off recreations in our recipes tab, and sign up for our email newsletter to get updates about new posts.
Chai Cider Mini Cheesecakes
- 3 cups apple cider
For the shortbread cookie base
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup finely ground pecans
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
For the cheesecake filling
- 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
For the apple topping
- t tbsp butter
- 1 apple, peeled and diced
- pinch each of cinnamon, ground cloves, and cardamom
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Prep the cider. Boil the cider in a saucepan until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup. This should take about 30-35 minutes.
Make the shortbread base
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ground pecans, brown sugar, and salt.
- Add the butter cubes and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Press about a teaspoon of shortbread dough into each spot in the muffin tins.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool while you assemble the filling.
Make the cheesecakes.
- Cream together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the reduced cider, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom and mix to combine
- Spoon filling into each of the muffin tins until about 3/4 full.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until set in the center. Allow to cool in the pans before removing to a wire rack. Remove the cupcake liners, then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to cool fully.
Make the apple topping
- Melt the butter in a pan and add the diced apples. Cook until the apples start to soften, about 12 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom and cook until the sugar is just melted, then remove from heat.
- Top the cheesecake bites with the apple topping and serve.
- These cheesecake bites will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge. They also freeze well and will last a few months in the freezer. Thaw before serving.