Monday, November 19, 2012

Mini Caramel Cheesecakes

It is no secret, I love all things caramel.  Even more than I love all things chocolate.  It is what it is.  I realize it is unwomanly (is that a word?) to not go gaga over chocolate but, I go gaga for caramel.

I especially love it on cheesecake.  I asked you all on Facebook how you felt about cheesecake and what you liked to top it with.  There are so many options aren't there?!  Many of you like cherry pie filling, strawberries, caramel/turtle varieties and my husband and dads favorite, pineapple.  I am usually a purist, I like it plain.  I actually like it from Aramingo Diner in North Philly but we all know, I can't just hop in the car and go for a cheesecake run with my bestie anymore.  (insert sad face).  It just occurred to me, that they used to SHIP.  Any of my Philadelphia peeps, do you know if they still do?  Anyway, I have a recipe for Sopapilla Cheesecake here but this is just a little different.  And it is a "mini", you all know how I feel about that. 

Now, for this recipe, I used my caramelized sweetened condensed milk technique.  I know there are many ways to do it, but I boil mine, it is what I have always done so that is the one I am recommending.  Place your sweetened condensed milk (still in the unopened can) in a large pot of simmering water.  NEVER let the water get lower than the can, it MUST stay covered with water.  I cover with a lid and let simmer 3 hours.  I check a few times to see if it needs water but as long as you keep it covered it should be fine. 

Now shall we get to the makin' part?  I think so too.  This recipe will make 12 mini cheesecakes!  I used Caramel Apple Candy Corn for the tops, use whatever you like!

For the CRUST you will need:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs.
2T melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

Mix together in a small bowl.  Line your muffin tin with papers and divide crumbs among them.  It comes to about 1 1/2 tbsp per cup.  Give or take, just work it out, I have faith in you!  Use a clean finger to press them down.  You like how I say that?  Like you might pick your nose just before hand or something. 

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

For the FILLING you will need:
12 ounces  cream cheese, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Pinch of salt

I combine all of these in my food processor and saved myself the overworking of my fragile arms.  HA!  Use a hand mixer, stand mixer, food processor, or your arms to combine this until smooth and creamy!  Divide among the 12 cups.  They will be close to the top, but no worries on that, just git-r-done.  Did I just say that? Bleh! 

Bake for 30 minutes.  You can check at about 25, but I am nearly positive our ovens aren't THAT different, they were perfect at 30 minutes for me. 

They will have puffed up a bit.  But as you let them cool, they will fall a bit.  If a few are cracked, no biggie, we are going to cover it up anyway!

Let them cool for 20 minutes.  Now you have to decide what you want to do.  If you are going to transport them keep them in the pan.  

1 can of caramelized sweetened condensed milk. (poor milk has been through a lot)
12 pieces of your favorite little sweet treat for the top!

Top them with the caramelized condensed milk and then a colorful treat OR take the wrappers off, top them and plate them.  Either way, they need refrigerated for at least 1 hour before serving, they are just best that way so don't try and talk yourself out of it. 

I took them out of the papers because I liked being able to see the layers but feel free to leave them on too!

I hope you decide to put these on your holiday table, or your everyday table for that matter!  Be careful, you might not be able to stop at just one!

Your "caramel cheesecake IS heaven" chefwannabe

PS.  Unwomanly in fact, is NOT a word.

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