living the sweet life

Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes with a Shortbread Cookie Crust

I love love love mini desserts.

There’s something wonderful about miniature, bite size delights that enable you to eat, you know, 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 and not feel bad because those 3 are less than a normal cupcake or cheesecake or cookie the size of your face. And besides, when you eat 3 of something, you feel more full because you’ve eaten three not one of something, right? See this logic? Impeccable.

It’s like when I made those mini lemon cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting. I easily ate 4 or 5 of those a day because they were mini and bite size and don’t really count when they’re so small. Right? Right.

That’s where these cheesecakes come in. I made mini pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving, and I’ve made these mini cookie dough cheesecakes a few times before (though not here on the blog). I love them. It’s so nice to get the richness of the cheesecake without having to commit to an entire huge slice. I mean there’s nothing wrong with a whole slice but these are so portable and just so.. cute.

Not to mention that these mini cheesecakes are delicious. The salted caramel that is swirled through them adds a little extra sweet and saltiness, though the swirl after baking might look a little ugly (see picture #3), but when you ‘fix’ that problem with an extra spoonful of caramel on top, it’s such a winner (see picture above and below). Yum. Biting into that creamy cheesecake and getting some of the salted caramel too, such a wonderful layering of flavors. Seriously.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and I’m sure you all have a BBQ or a party or something to attend (and if not, TOTALLY make these for yourself. I won’t judge). A sure-fire way to guarantee your invite next year and the year after that, or even just to make your friend’s really happy, is to make these. Cheesecake is a nice cool dessert that is delicious, refreshing, and all around a crowd pleaser.

When I made this recipe, I made them for only 8 mini cheesecakes, but it can be easily doubled or tripled. So, go ahead, make some people happy this weekend.

Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes with Shortbread Cookie Crust

makes 8 mini cheesecakes

For the Crust:
1/2 cup shortbread cookie crumbs (About 4 cookies worth for me)
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar

For the Cheesecakes:
1 8-oz brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 scant teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon heavy cream
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce + additional for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tin with 8 cupcake liners.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the shortbread cookie crumbs, melted butter, and sugar with a fork until the mixture looks like wet sand. Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner, making sure it’s packed down and covers the bottom. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the crusts are just set. Let cool on a wire cooling rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer), beat the cream cheese on medium to medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Add in the salt and vanilla. Add the egg and beat well, until incorporated. Add in the heavy cream and mix batter until just combined.

Add 2 tablespoons of batter to each liner. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salted caramel on top and use a toothpick to swirl the salted caramel through the batter.

Bake until the filling is just set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Pour some salted caramel on top. Transfer cheesecakes to the fridge and let chill (and finish setting) for at least 3-4 hours before serving.

[source: adapted from my mini pumpkin cheesecakes]

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