I would love to do a standard birthday cake, but my husband isn't a big cake person, and I don't need a whole cake staring at myself all day! That just wouldn't do!
Put your graham crackers in a food processor (I did mine in two batches, since I didn't feel like bringing out my large food processor), and pulverize them until they are fine crumbs. Did you know that you can actually buy graham cracker crumbs now? I found them at the store the other day, and my first thought was, "Oh! Great! Now I can save a step!"
However, I still bought the solid crackers, because I know my husband and daughter love the regular ones so much, so, I just put them in a food processor and whirl 'em up.
Once all of your graham cracker crumbs are together, mix in the sugar with a fork, and then mix in your melted butter, until you have something that resembles wet sand. If you really want to jazz it up a bit, toss in a tsp. of cinnamon, if you want! I've done this before, and it's lovely!
Once you have that together, line your muffin tin with cupcake liners, and press about 1 Tbs of crust mix into the bottom of the liner, and up the side a bit, if you can. I had a good amount of crust mixture leftover, but you'll see later, I only had enough cheesecake mixture to make up 9 cheesecakes. I didn't mind, I baked off all 12 of the crusts anyway, and crumbled some of the extra crusts over the tops of the other cheesecakes.
Next, add in your two eggs and vanilla. I used a clear vanilla, since it's what I had on hand, so you may not be able to see it in the picture, but it's in there! I promise! Mix your eggs, and vanilla in, until it has just come together; another minute or so.
With the mixer running on low, mix in your granulated sugar, then turn off your mixer all together. There will still be some lumps and bumps in this mixture, and that's just fine. There is also something else I should note here; if you want to really personalize this here, you absolutely can! Feel free to add in some lemon zest, some lime zest, or even some orange zest! Let your imagination run wild! I went with a basic version of this recipe today, just to get the base recipe out, but feel free to experiment the more comfortable you get with this!
These don't look too pretty going into the oven, but that's okay, they'll puff up beautifully in the oven. After 20 minutes, when you pull them out, you'll notice that they are a little bit jiggly in the center, which is how they are supposed to be. As they cool, they will deflate, and sink in the middle, leaving a perfect cup for your topping of choice!
*Yes, yes, you can easily bake a whole cheesecake, cut it up into slices, and freeze the slices individually, but, common, aren't these adorable? Besides, it's my birthday, and I can have my cheesecake however I'd like! See you Thursday!