By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 22, 2016 at 5:37 PM

Looking for a deliciously easy dessert to whip up for your next holiday gathering?

Try out these festive cranberry swirl mini cheesecakes which harness the impossibly creamy nature of mascarpone cheese and the sweet tartness of Wisconsin cranberries to create a memorable bite-sized treat.

Cranberry swirl mini mascarpone cheesecakes

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Servings: Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
5 ounces (about 1 cup) graham crackers, crushed
4 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces Wisconsin mascarpone cheese
8 ounces Wisconsin cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs

Directions: Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

In small saucepan, combine cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Simmer over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes, until cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat; cool. Place in food processor or blender with 1 tablespoon water and purée.

Heat oven to 350°F. In food processor, process graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add melted butter; mix. Press 1 tablespoon mixture into bottom of each muffin cup. Bake 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

In bowl of electric mixer, mix mascarpone and cream cheese. Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla; mix 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time; mixing well after each addition.

Fill muffin cups with mascarpone mixture slightly more than 3/4 full. Place 1 teaspoon (up to 1 tablespoon) cranberry mixture in center of each; use toothpick to swirl through cheesecake batter, creating a marbled effect.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until puffed and golden but not brown. Remove from oven; cool 15 minutes. Refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

More recipes

Find more great recipes – including a great new idea for serving brie at holiday parties – in the 2016 holiday issue of Grate. Pair. Share., an online magazine dedicated to all things Wisconsin cheese.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.