Recipe by Dans La Lune
A crispy but tender outside with a slightly warm and gooey citrus cheesecake filling. I serve these with blueberry syrup on the side for dipping. I created this recipe for a dinner party I was having and wanted a unique dessert. These are crowd friendly and totally comfort food! I would encourage you to even make your own cheesecake with my flavorings and then use that as your cheesecake base. I'm a food purist and would have loved to do that, but time was not on my side so I had to settle for a ready made cheesecake filling (which I made flavor enhancements to), and this is that recipe. Either way, you are sure to enjoy these amazing little balls of deliciousness!
- 1 (24 ounce) container cheesecake filling (I use Philadelphia Ready to Eat cheesecake filling)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 3 cups cinnamon flavored animal crackers (I use Cats Cookies from Trader Joes, the regular flavor)
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 1⁄4 cups milk
- vegetable oil (for deep frying)
- powdered sugar (optional)
- blueberry syrup (recipe below) (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- *Note - If you cannot find Cats Cookies from Trader Joes, simply use animal crackers and mix 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon with the crumbs.
- Empty the cheesecake filling into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, Grand Marnier, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix until all ingredients are well blended.
- Prepare a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. With two spoons or with your hands make little balls using the cheesecake mixture. The size should be about the size of a cherry tomato (not grape tomato!).
- Place the balls in rows on the cookie sheet -- as many as you can fit. Don't worry about crowding them, just don't let them stick together. Put the sheet in the freezer for 2 - 3 hours.
- In the meantime, prepare your cookie crumbs. Place cookies (and cinnamon if using) in a large plastic zip top bag. Use a rolling pin or glass to crush cookies and make crumbs. Place crumbs in bowl and set aside.
- Close to the time you will remove the sheet from the freezer, prepare the batter using the flour, baking powder, egg, milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Whisk until mixture is well blended and mostly lump free.
- Heat a large deep pot with oil -- enough to go up the sides by about 3 - 4 inches. The oil should be heated to about 360 degrees. Use an attachable thermometer to ensure that this temperature is reached. If the oil is not hot enough, the balls will fall apart and melt everywhere. If too hot, they will brown very quickly and may burn.
- Make an assembly line of the cookie sheet, followed by the bowl of cookie crumbs, and then the batter.
- Pick up a cheesecake ball and gently roll it in the cookie crumbs, to cover most of the cheesecake, but not all. Then dip the cheesecake ball in the batter (you can use 2 spoons or your hands) and shake off excess gently.
- Drop ball in hot oil and wait for a very light brown color to appear. Roll the ball around to ensure even browning on all sides.
- Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place cooked cheesecake balls on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Repeat until all are cooked. Then sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and remove paper towels if you'd like a prettier presentation.
- Serve with a side of blueberry syrup. (RECIPE: One pint blueberries in a saucepan with 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until dark and shiny, constantly keeping berries moving by gently stirring or shaking the pan. Strain out the fruit and pour remaining syrup in a container).