Mini Cheesecakes + caramel sauce

This cheesecake recipe has been in my repertoire for over a dozen years.  Whether made as one big, individual cheesecake or cupcake size, it never fails.  I like a firm cheesecake.  This is a firm cheesecake.  It has 5 simple ingredients and can be whipped up in under an hour.

I use this cheesecake filling for almost anything.  I have made traditional graham cracker crusts, chocolate crusts, Oreo cookie crusts and cookie crusts made with left over “burnt” cookies.  Anything goes.

The base is just as good plain as it is with fresh raspberry puree swirled in, chocolate fudge swirled in or topped  caramel, lemon curd or fresh fruit .

Once you have tried this recipe, there will be no going back!

Mini Cheesecakes
adapted from Martha Stewart
yield approx 28

basic cheesecake crust
1 1/2 cup of finely ground cookie crumbs (today I used the famous chocolate wafers)
3 Tbsp. sugar
4.5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

cream cheese filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
32 oz. (4 pkg.) cream cheese, room temp.
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temp.

for the crust
• preheat oven to 325*. line muffin tins with liners
• crush cookies in Cuisinart.  add sugar and pulse.  add butter and pulse until all the cookies feel wet.
• spoon 1 Tbls. cookie mixture in each muffin cup.  I use a 1/4 measuring cup to press down the cookies.  
• bake until set, about 10 minutes.  let cool

for the cream cheese filling
• put softened cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer, using the paddle attachment.  beat until you don’t see any visible lumps.  add the sugar and pinch of salt and beat until creamy.  add eggs, one at a time until all is incorporated
• pour about a 1/4 of mixture ( I use a large ice cream scooper ), not to exceed 3/4 of the way up the liner.
• bake for 18-20 minutes.  you  don’t want them to crack.
• when cool, refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
• eat what you want and then wrap the left overs in a Tupperware and freeze for up to one month.