Last weekend Gabriel, our third son, graduated from high school. Our local homeschool community does a really great job at honoring our graduates by hosting a group graduation ceremony. Each graduate gets to put together a slide show that is played and the parents can briefly talk before giving their student his diploma. It’s super fun!
After the ceremony we invited friends and family to our home for dinner, just as we did for Christian and Josiah. We were expecting about 60 people for dinner and I wanted to make things that could be made ahead of time and are easy to serve. And since I scored quite a bit of cream cheese for only a $1 a pound I decided to make cheesecakes. (I also used these frugal hospitality ideas to help keep costs down)
Since regular cheesecakes aren’t super easy to serve I decided to make mini cheesecakes in muffin pans. The week before we made a trial batch because I wanted to make sure that they would freeze and thaw out well and that the paper liner would come off nicely. You know, the important things.
They worked out perfectly, so a few days before graduation we made 15 dozen mini cheesecakes and froze them for Saturday. It took about 4 hours because I only have a few muffin tins and can only cook 2 dozen at a time. But it was fine, I cooked super and cleaned the kitchen while I baked. And it made Saturday so much easier.
I made the batter in three batches so each batch makes about 5 dozen. When you’re making a large number of individual items little variances can add up. So if you use bigger muffin tins or fill them more than I did you might only get 4 1/2 dozen. If you use smaller muffin tins or don’t fill yours a full as I did then you might be able to get 5 1/2 dozen from each batch. But they’ll all be good.
We served them with some chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, cherry pie filling and some dewberry preserves. It was really fun and super easy to manage.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
- 3lbs cream cheese - room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 9 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Put graham crackers in food processor and whirl until they are crumbs. Cut butter into 8-10 pieces and add to crumbs. Give it another whirl.
- Crack eggs into a bowl and mix well. Set aside. Cut cream cheese and put it in a mixer with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl and use a hand mixer). Add sugar and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until well blended. Slowly add eggs and mix well. Stop mixer as soon as eggs are mixed in.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Press just over 1 tsp of graham cracker crust into each liner. Fill liner almost to the top with cheesecake batter. Bake for 16-20 minutes until tops are firm. Cool on wire rack (or pop into the freezer to cool faster). Refrigerate or freeze.
- Thaw for about 30 minutes before serving.
- Arrange on platter.
- Top with your favorite toppings such as chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, cherry, strawberries or other preserves.
What are some of your go-to recipes for serving a crowd? Share them in the comments!