I recently tried a grocery store cheesecake at my buddy's house and was pretty disappointed. There was nothing really wrong with it, it just tasted funky. It didn't taste fresh. It tasted like a machine made it ( I have a 6th sense for that). I devoured it nonetheless- I couldn't help myself. All that creamy fat and sugar, I'm like a little kid around cheesecake, and I'm proud of it.
Deterred and disturbed by my recent run in with mediocrity, I determined for cheesecake greatness! My in-house supplies however were limited. I had some sour cream, some cream cheese, but no graham crackers or oreos for a crust though after a quick scan of my pantry, I found some nilla wafers. Now let's flash back for a minute.
About a week ago I had just finished my shift at Rita's water ice. The store policy is that you are allowed to take a certain-size-cup of anything (water ice, ice cream etc) home. Now Rita's has bizarre treat that they make called a Blendini. It's a combination of water ice, custard, and some type of cookies (nilla wafers, oreos, pretzels) that get's combined in a cup then blended together. It's really not something I myself would order, and I puke in my mouth whenever a customer orders something like raspberry-lemonade water ice, chocolate ice cream, and pretzels. Anyway, the point is that they carry nilla wafer pieces, which I one day used to fill my free cup, completely intending to make them into a cheesecake crust.
Flash Forward: So I had the cookies and the cream cheese but what else. I find that I almost always like cheesecake better when it's not just plain cheesecake. Plain cheesecake is still delicious, don't get me wrong, but there's gotta be some contrast to the cream cheese filling. With just cream cheese filling, your cake is like an arid desert. The simple addition of oreos, or raspberry swirls, creates an oasis in every bite.
So I delved further into the ghetto of my pantry and found some nutella! I checked the expiration date and found that I was good to go! I was just using the ingredients that I had and I wasn't sure if the filling would fill a pan. I therefore chose to bake the custard in muffins tins (something I later realized might not be smart; when the cake is divided into individual muffins, its much easier to gauge how much you've eaten, and feel guilty, than if you back the cake in one big pan). I realized that I didn't know how much melted butter to add to the nilla wafers, so I just sprinkled some in the bottom, and in an effort to spice up my cake even further, I drizzled dulce de leche on top of the nilla wafers. I topped this with the cream cheese-nutella filling then baked for about 25 minutes in a 275 degree oven (I prob should've used a water bath. whatever).
Another benefit of baking the cheesecake in muffin tins is that the fillings cools a lot faster, thereby reducing drool time (or is that just me) while the cake cools. Only one of the muffins is for me though, the rest are for a shipment of duck eggs!