Cheesecake mini-muffins with Christmas snow

24 foil-lined baking cups
1 package chocolate cake mix (18 ounce size)
1 package cream cheese, softened (8 ounce size)
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate mini-morsels
1 quart chocolate swirl ice cream
1 small container of Cool Whip
1 small package of shredded coconut
1 small bottle maraschino cherries with stems

The first thing you want to do is pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then put all of the baking cups into muffin pans. When that's complete, set everything aside for a while.

Next, simply prepare the cake mix according to the package directions for 24 cupcakes (take your time and be sure to make the batter silky smooth). When the resultant mixture is at the correct consistency, carefully spoon it into the baking cups. When they're all filled, set them aside for the moment.

Now in a medium size bowl, beat the cream cheese, the egg, and the sugar together with an electric mixer until totally combined. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mini-morsels and drop them by tablespoonfuls into the cupcake cups.

At this point, slide the muffin tins into the oven on the center rack and bake the cakes 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into their centers comes out clean. At this point let them cool totally before continuing the recipe.

Finally, when you're ready to serve, top each cake with a mini-scoop of chocolate swirl ice cream, topped with a dollop of Cool Whip, topped with a sprinkling of coconut, and crowned with a stemmed maraschino cherry.

Ho, Ho, Ho and a Merrrrrrrry Christmas!


Chef's Note:

For a little extra pizzazz, quickly toast the coconut in a skillet in a 450-degree oven. But keep a close eye on it! It can go from untoasted to charred in zero to sixty at the blink of an eye! Watch it!

Reynolds makes a muffin cup lined with heavy aluminum foil. I've found that these hold their shape a whole lot better than the no-name brands.