I love Cherry Cheesecake around the holidays because my Grandmama used to always make a cherry cream cheese pie for me this time of year. She was actually allergic to the red cherries but still made it because she knew it was my favorite – now that’s a good grandmama!
The problem I encountered then is still much the same as now, I can’t hardly be left alone with that pie because it is just too stinking good. So this year, I set out to create a bite size version of cherry cheesecake that’s perfect for parties and get togethers and gives you just the right amount of cherry cheesecake goodness in every bite. I could not be more thrilled with these Cherry Cheesecake Bites! They are everything I hoped for and more, all that is good and wonderful about a cherry cheesecake rolled up into a bite size ball of goodness. The taste of graham crust sprinkled throughout makes them even better than the original in many ways!
Before we dive into the recipe, I just have to ask you something. Is November flying by for anyone else or it is just me? It seems like just yesterday I rolled the calendar over and now I’m over halfway through and have already starting penning things in for December. While I’m asking, is Thanksgiving really next week? I’d like an extra week or two, please. 🙂
Imagine there is some vanilla here. You know, dark brown bottle, smells like cookies, etc. Close your eyes and picture it standing just to the right of the sweetened condensed milk. Got it? Cool. Thanks!
For this recipe, you’ll need: Sweetened Condensed milk, Vanilla, Graham Cracker Crumbs, Cherry Pie Filling*, and two bricks of cream cheese (here’s how to easily make homemade cream cheese).
If you want, you can also add a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice. I added it to one batch and forgot to add it to the other and both were very good. So if you have it on hand, go for it. If you don’t have it on hand, don’t go buy it just for this.
*On the cherry pie filling: I’m usually all about generic ingredients and saving money but when it comes to pie filling, the less you pay the fewer cherries you get these days. With that in mind, I recommend paying the extra fifty cents or so to get a “premium” cherry pie filling and avoiding the generics. Now, if y’all have used a generic that was chock full of cherries, please let us know in the comments exactly what brand it was and where you got it because that would be very helpful! In the meantime, if you want to play it safe, the brand pictured has never let me down.
In the directions at the bottom I am suggesting two boxes of graham crumbs. That is because you will have to skimp to have enough to coat them with. You’ll end up with a lot of extra crumbs but there are so many uses for them during the holidays – like making Cherry Cheesecake Bites again after these have been inhaled!
Place condensed milk, cream cheese, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and well blended. If your cream cheese was not room temp, this is going to take a little more time so you really really need to let that get to room temp.
Dump the entire box of graham crumbs on top of dough. Mix again until it is the consistency of cookie dough, scraping down sides if needed.
Now, I’m not here to judge or anything but I will tell you that you’re crazy if you don’t get a pinch of this right now to taste!
Dump entire contents of Cherry Pie Filling into dough.
Mix that gently with an electric mixer until just blended and then stop. We don’t want to overmix because we’ll make all of those little bits of cherries disappear into the dough.
Cover this and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until well chilled.
Roll refrigerated dough into one inch balls and roll those in the additional graham crumbs. Once all the cheesecake bites are made, store, covered, in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
These little bites are wonderful to take to a party or family get together. They remain firm and are so easy to just pick up and pop in your mouth! When you make a batch, keep a few in a container in your fridge to grab a bite when the holiday sweet tooth hits!
- 2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese at room temp
- 1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 box graham cracker crumbs 13-14 ounces each*
- 1- 21 ounce can cherry pie filling get some name brand stuff so you have more cherries than gel mess
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice optional
- Place condensed milk, cream cheese, lemon juice (if using), and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth and well blended.
- Dump the entire box of graham crumbs on top of dough. Mix again until it is the consistency of cookie dough, scraping down sides if needed.
- Dump entire contents of cherry pie filling into dough and mix gently with an electric mixer until just blended. Don’t overmix because it will break up all of the cherries to the point that they disappear into the dough.
- Cover dough and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until well chilled.
- Roll into one inch balls and roll those in the additional graham crumbs. Once all the cheesecake bites are made, store, covered, in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
If you can’t have the best of everything, make the best of everything you have.
~Submitted by Sarah Wilson. Click here to submit your favorites to our collection!