Holiday Cranberry Cheesecake With Chocolate Antlers is the most delicious cheesecake of the holiday season, chocolate antlers for a bit of whimsy.
Holiday Fun And Deliciousness
You know Santa is famous for his indulgence in Santa Cookies?
Well this year, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, is getting his first and most delicious holiday dessert indulgence as well. Eat your heart out Santa!
This easy to make and fun dessert is made to look as though Rudolph made a crash landing in a snowbank, lost an antler or two.
Images of his bright shining red nose will be replicated by the cranberries.
It’s fun, healthy-ish, and delicious!
Rudolph Chocolate Antlers And The Reindeer Gang
Admit it, there is something spectacular about a reindeer, even if they don’t fly!
Hollywood has a way of embedding visuals in our memory that ignite the child in us throughout our lives.
Reindeer at Christmas time are about as whimsical as symbols get.
An amazing Christmas cheesecake, for me, needed to be individual holiday cheesecakes, in which I could create holiday whimsy by putting chocolate antlers sticking out from each of them!
Served on a platter, these individual cheesecakes with a cranberry mixture on top and chocolate antlers sticking out here and there, invoked the imagination, even for us grownups!
For sure, you will expect Rudolph and the Reindeer gang to be on their way.
Cheesecake With Options
While a rich, dense cheesecake is traditionally made with cream cheese or mascarpone, there are some fabulous plant cream cheese substitutes to use in this recipe.
Since eggs are what bind a cheese cake together when baking, and sugar is what sweetens it, just about any type of creamed cheese can be used successfully.
That also goes for the sugar to be substituted with agave or other sweeteners of your choice.
Festive Cheesecake For Any Holiday Celebration
For a simple yet rich holiday cheesecake, nothing whips into place faster than eggs, sugar, mascarpone and some cream.
Flavor with a favorite essence, even some rum, but for this cheese cake we will use vanilla extract.
Once the crust is pressed into the pan or pans (one large or several individual sizes), the cream cheese mixture gets whipped, transferred to the crusts and bakes rather quickly.
Once the cheesecake cools, the fun begins as we decorate with chocolate reindeer antlers and a scrumptious dollop of homemade cranberry compote or sauce.
Chocolate Reindeer Antlers
I’m sure chocolate reindeer antlers can be purchased, ready made, around the holidays, but making them is so easy.
As for the whimsical antlers? I drew an antler, then used the single drawing to make many, so I could make lots of antlers out of melted chocolate.
No, I can’t draw, so I found one on the internet on my phone, set a piece of paper over my phone and traced it, perfect!
Feel free to print out my antlers and use them as a guide. I do it every year now!
How To Make Chocolate Reindeer Antlers
On a piece of parchment paper, simply draw a bunch of antlers. Turn the paper over and you’ve got a guide for making chocolate antlers.
Melt some chocolate, transfer to a plastic bottle fitted with a tip (like the kind you find for hair color applications), keep the bottle in very warm water (as needed), and quickly draw the antler stencils you have made with the chocolate.
Pop the chocolate antlers in the fridge for about 20 minutes (or freezer for future use), and the chocolate antlers are ready when the cheesecake is ready to be served.
Since the cheesecake will be baked, you can make the crust out of any of your favorite pie crusts.
I made a gingersnap pie crust with this recipe because the ginger flavor compliments all the other flavors and it is so easy to put together, though graham crackers can be used too.
Individual Cheesecake Pans
When making cheesecake, large or individual, a spring-form pan, where the bottom is easily removed after baking, makes it easier to serve.
It’s nice to have a small collection of mini springform pans (I love mine), but they can be a bit pricey.
Easiest, cheapest removable bottom pans? The lids to Mason Jars!
I have a huge collection of wide-mouth Mason jar lids, just the lids (like, under ten bucks for a dozen), which I use often when cooking for a large gathering.
If you flip the lid upside down in the ring (rubber stripping side down), the lids make for easy to remove bottom, baking tins for pies or cakes.
These lids are designed for heat, when canning, so they are perfect for baking and clean up easily.
Cheesecake With Cranberry Compote Topping
I couldn’t resist making the Cranberry Compote simply because it reminds my of Rudolph’s nose!
The compote simmers quick and has lovely holiday spices in it.
This compote is one I also made on The Great American Recipe with PBS when I decided I would make Thanksgiving In 90-Minutes!
Simply toss the cranberry compote ingredients into a sauce pan and summer a short time.
Once it cools, it will thicken a little and the tart yet sweet flavor of the compote goes beautifully with the cheese cake.
Holiday Snow And Chocolate Antlers
While we have created so many whimsical aspects of this frun cranberry cheesecake, chocolate antlers for the reindeer, lots of cranberries depicting Rudolph’s nose, we need snow!
For sure, you can whip a cloud of heavy whipping cream to place a dollop on top, but I wanted something that would hold together a little longer, so I went with meringues.
A quick whisk of an egg white with a pinch of powdered sugar, baked for five minutes in the already hot oven, made for the perfect topping.
I didn’t crush a little freeze dried raspberries, or strawberries to dust across the top for more story affect!
- Gingersnaps or graham crackers
- Brown sugar
- Chocolate squares
- Egg white
- Cream of tartar
- Powdered sugar
- Freeze dried raspberries – I can usually find these at Trader Joes but when I can’t I always find them on Amazon.
- Orange rind
- Mason jar lids or tart pans – I can’t tell you enough how often I use these lids for both sweet and savory baking, rolls as well.
- Plastic squeeze bottle
- Mixing bowl
- Hand mixer
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoon
- Antler stencils
Holiday Cranberry Cheesecake With Chocolate Antlers
- 8 mini tart pans or mason jar lids
- plastic squeeze bottle or piping bag with tip
- Electric mixer
- Gingersnap Crust
- 1 1/2 cups Gingersnap cookies or graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 tsp Cacao powder
- 6 tbsp Butter melted
- Chocolate Antlers
- 8 oz Chocolate chips or squares melted
- Fresh Cranberry Compote
- 8 oz Fresh Cranberries
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Cloves
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp Orange zest
- 1 tbsp Orange juice
- Cheesecake Filling
- 3/4 cup Mascarpone or softened cream cheese
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 Egg white *see notes
- pinch Cream of tartar
- 1 tsp Powdered sugar
- Raspberry Dust
- 1/4 cup Freeze dried raspberries or strawberries crushed
- Cheesecake PreparationPreheat oven to 375
- Crust – In a food processor mix together crushed gingersnaps, brown sugar, cacao powder and melted butter. Divide the cheesecake crust evenly among 8 individual tart pans or one large buttered prepared springform pan. Press an even layer of the crust firmly to the bottom of the pan, or pans, and halfway up the sides of the pan.Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Chocolate Antlers. On a piece of parchment paper, draw the antlers, 16 for 8 tart size cheesecakes.Transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic bottle with a tip or a piping bag with a fine tip, quickly make the chocolate antlers. Chill until firm.
- Cranberry Compote – In a small saucepan over medium heat, place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, zest, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, turn down low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
- Cream Cheese Mixture – In the bowl of a stand mixer, food processor or large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk together on medium-high speed, the mascarpone/cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Pour even amounts of the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust.
- Bake – cheesecake in the preheated oven until the top of the cream sets firm, about 10 minutes for small tarts and 30 for a larger pie. Cool on a wire rack, allowing air to circulate around the pans and stop the cooking. If using Mason jar lids, you can pop the cheesecakes out from the rim once they are cool.
- Meringues – In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the egg white with cream of tartar and powdered sugar. Pipe the egg whites onto a baking sheet in a design that will best fit the top of each tart. Bake until tops look firm and start to turn gold, but only a hint of color, about 5-minutes. Remove, cool completely and sprinkle with crushed freeze dried raspberry dust.
- Assemble – Place each tart on an individual plate or serving tray. Put a dollop of the whole berry cranberry sauce on top of the cheesecake. Place the raspberry dusted meringue on top of the compote and place two chocolate antlers in each tart. Serve.