If you enjoy coffee and cheesecake, you will absolutely enjoy this gluten-free coffee mini Basque cheese cupcakes topped with crunchy airy Korean Dalgona candy, inspired by Netflix's popular Squid Game TV show. The creamy filling of the cheesecake with the crunchy airy Dalgona candy on top are such a great combination.
Preheat oven to 480 F (250 C). Line your muffin pan with parchment paper or you can use muffin cup liner. Since muffin cup liner is smaller, you may get more than 7 cupcakes
Prepare the coffee mix:
Put heavy cream, instant coffee, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until coffee and cocoa powder dissolves. Let it cools down completely
Prepare cheesecake batter:
Put the cream cheese and the rest of the ingredients and the coffee mix into a blender (food processor works too). Blend until smooth. The batter will be thick and runny
Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. Fill up the muffin cup a bit over 3/4 full. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to pop any large bubbles
Put the pan on the middle rack and back for 10 minutes for cupcake size and about 22 minutes for 6-inch size. The top will still be very jiggly when you gently shake the pan, that's normal
If the top is not brown enough for you, turn on the broiler function on your oven on high and broil for a minute or so. Do not walk away during this time or you will really burn it to the ground LOL. The cheesecake will be jiggly when you gently shake the pan. That's the way it supposed to be
Let the cake cools down completely at room temperature. This will take few hours. The cake may sink a bit in the middle as it cools down. Cover with a cling wrap and store in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours before slicing
Prepare Dalgona candy:
Get all you need within your reach. It is especially helpful if you have another person to help you stamp on the cookie cutter on top of the candy as you pour the liquid candy on top of the rest of the cupcakes, BUT, it's doable on your own too. You just need to work fast
Make sure you get your cheesecake nearby you all ready for the Dalgona candy to be poured on top. Get the cookie cutter nearby. This has to happen quickly since we are making the Dalgona candy in bigger batch instead of one by one like in the Dalgona candy squid game challenge
Put sugar on a non-stick pan. Put this on the stove over medium-low heat. The sugar will start to melt starting from the edge. Use a rubber spatula to keep stirring until sugar continue to caramelize and darken. The sugar needs to melt down completely. Turn off the heat and quickly add the baking soda and stir quickly for about 5 seconds and immediately pour this on top of the cupcakes. Do this quickly as the candy harden quickly. It can be a bit messy with the melted sugar drips, but they will harden, so no worries
Quickly stamp on the cookie cutter on top starting from the first one you poured the liquid candy on. If you move too slow, you may find that the candy may have hardened, which is okay, you just don't get to stamp on the cookie cutter anymore LOL!
How to eat:
Not that I'm telling you how to eat your cheese cupcakes. I'm sure you know how to. It's just that with the crunchy Dalgona candy on top, it might make you wonder where to start :) No right or wrong I suppose. I just use a fork or spoon to gently tap on the candy until it cracks and then cut through the cheesecake and scoop that creamy cheesecake with that bits of Dalgona candy along with it into your mouth and just enjoy the moment!
As expected with candy like Dalgona, the top of the candy will soften and sort of "melty" like a caramel after an overnight refrigeration and the stamp will disappear, but underneath the candy is still crunchy. So if you want to serve them to friends or guests and show them how they are like with the stamp and everything, only make the Dalgona candy and pour on top on the same day you are going to serve them