Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Caramel Cheesecake Mini-Muffins

Here's a type of cheesecake you can eat all of and not feel one twinge of guilt. :) It's not exactly quick, but it's well worth the wait!

Caramel Cheesecake Bites
For the crust-
1 cup almond meal
½ cup almonds, slivered
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

For the cheesecake-
3 eggs
19 oz of cream cheese (for reference, there are 8 oz in a usual bar of cream cheese)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the caramel-
½ cup evaporated milk
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Take the stress of the day out on the slivered almonds. Once you have them thoroughly crushed, add them to a mixing bowl with the almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk them together. Then, add the butter and stir. Pack the mixture down onto the bottom of the liners and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Adjust the oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, add eggs, cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is of a light, fluffy texture. Then, spoon it onto the crust. Bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, stir ½ cup sugar into 2 tbsp water over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Let it stand until it's the color of light brown sugar, about 10 minutes.

Then, remove it from the heat and gently stir in the butter and milk. Put it back onto the heat and let it sit until the sugar melts. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 1 minute. Remove it from heat and let the caramel cool down to room temperature. Then, cover it and put it in the refrigerator until slightly thickened, about 1 hour.

Now, just take the cheesecakes out when they are done and let cool. When the middle falls (as is typical with cheesecake), spoon about 1 tbsp of the caramel into the 'cup', add any other garnishes you like and serve. Be sure to set some aside for yourself, though; they'll be gone before you know it!

Another good thing is that the different 'layers' (cheesecake, crust, caramel) can be adjusted to fit other recipes. Caramel popcorn balls, anyone? Apple dip? :)


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