cheesecake · Party Planning

And You Shall Have Life in a Barn Dance {Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie Cups}

Hay bales, bunting, a dance caller, a silly hat competition and a rustic supper to match – you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a country dance in small-town southern US. But these antics were in fact all present at our church’s Barn Dance held earlier this year.

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The plan for this event was originally for a ceilidh – a Scottish social dance led by a dance caller – hence the tartan that pops up in some of the photos that follow! But to make it more varied and family friendly we morphed it into the barn theme. We decided on a soup and rolls dinner, followed by dancing, then a tasty supper catered by yours truly. Fabulous decorations were designed and applied by the creatively unbeatable E (and her team of helpers), standing pride-of-place with her ‘wall of tartan’ below.

I had a blast choosing and making ‘rustic’ desserts suitable for such a dance. For the adults I decided on chocolate cheesecake cookie cups, passionfruit choux puffs, s’mores caramel slice, fruit kebabs and chocolate cowboy hats.

Those hats were the cutest things – I saw the idea on Pinterest {the source of all original ideas} and knew I HAD to source the annoyingly-hard-to-find components to make them.


For the kids, I went to town with the theme – crossing into country fair territory with toffee apples, pop-corn cobs, as well as their own platters of fruit kebabs and cowboy hats. The first photo below was taken just before they were told they could dig in…!

During the process of making these treats, I learned a few important life lessons:

  1. Curved chocolate wafers are alarmingly rare.
  2. Individual Rolo chocolates the right size are even more rare.
  3. British lolly shops hold hidden treasures – do not underestimate!!
  4. The freezer is my friend (especially for unfilled choux puffs and cookie cups!).
  5. Toffee apples are better when made the day they will be eaten.

I know that it’s now August {nearly spring} and I am only just getting my act together with sharing this autumn event, but there was so much else going on at the time… All this went down {in my generous in-laws’ kitchen} the weekend before Bestie Birthday Week and the delightful monstrosity that was my first structured cake.


Now here’s a recipe from that table of desserty delights. Inspired by Lindsay of Life Love and Sugar’s fabulous Nutella Cheesecake Cookie Cups, I wanted a full-on chocolate version so I tinkered with recipe formulations to come up with the one below. I used her great recipe for the chocolate cookie cups to pipe the cheesecake into, with just a few observations:

  • I found it was easier to press the cookie cup batter into the muffin tins if I let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes after mixing (giving the dough some time to absorb the flour and become less sticky).
  • To evenly fit the cookie mixture into muffin cups, I rolled the mixture into balls and pushed it evenly into the greased muffin cups.
  • When baking in the oven, I waited for the cookies to rise while baking then fall back down before they were ready, which also ensures that there’s a cavity in the cookie to pipe the cheesecake into.
  • And they freeze well, unfilled – yay for prepping ahead!

Chocolate Cheesecake for Cookie Cups

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Recipe inspired by Liv for Cake

  • 1 batch of chocolate cookie cups using this Life, Love and Sugar recipe  – see my hints for making these, above. Alternatively you could buy pastry cases to pipe the cheesecake into, or spoon it directly into ramekins (or your mouth…).
  • 250g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cups icing (confectioners) sugar, approximately
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g good quality chocolate (I used dark), melted and let cool to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream, cold
  • sprinkles or chocolate chips to decorate (I used Valrhona pearls that I had scored at a discount, since there’s no way I’d be able to afford them at full price!!)
  1. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat cream cheese, vanilla and sugar together till smooth and blended.
  2. Beat in the cooled chocolate, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides to ensure all cream cheese is blended in.
  3. Whip cream into stiff peaks. Fold a third of the cream into the cream cheese mixture at a time until it is all combined (the consistency should be easy to pipe).
  4. Fill a piping bag filled with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M) with the chocolate cream cheese mixture and pipe into the cookie cups. To pipe in peaks as I did, start piping from the outside edge of the cups in a spiral towards the centre, pulling up sharply to leave a peak in the centre.

I can imagine these cheesecake cookie cups made mini-cupcake size, like tiny tartlets, for a single bite of delicious creamy chocolately goodness!

It’s just about needless to say that a great evening was had by all, but here is some photographic evidence below: Gary our fantastic caller; my favourite pic, kiddies lovin’ their desserts; and my second fave shot, dancers in action.

I’d love to know if you have any creative ideas for barn dance food, or if you’ve been to a dance like this!


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