Caramel Apple Mini-Cheesecakes
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons VAIN Ugandan Vanilla extracted in Premium Vodka
2 eggs, beaten, room temperature
CARAMEL APPLE TOPPING:
1 firm apple (Pink Lady, Granny Smith, etc), peeled, cored and finely chopped and diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (or thick dulce de leche)
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch (if needed to thicken your topping)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners (do not use foil liners). Set aside.
PREPARE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
In a microwavable safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and cinnamon to the bowl with the melted butter and mix until all ingredients are combined. Use a tablespoon to measure out one rounded tablespoon of graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner. Use the back of the tablespoon to press the graham crackers crumbs firmly into the liners. Bake in 350-degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the counter. Let crusts cool completely before starting on cheesecake mixture.
PREPARE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, affixed with the paddle attachment, add both packages of room temperature cream cheese. Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the white and brown sugar to the cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Slowly add the vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat mixture until there are no lumps and mixture is smooth and creamy. Change the mixer to low speed and slowly add the beaten eggs into the cream cheese mixture. Beat the eggs into the mixture on medium speed, until completely combined.
Fill the cupcake liners almost to the top of the liners, with the cheesecake mixture. Bake in 350-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until centers are set. Do not over bake.
Remove baked cheesecakes from the oven and set the cupcake tin on a wire rack to cool for at least 30-minutes. Once cheesecakes are cool and set, remove the cheesecakes from the cupcake tin and place on a tray or plate in the refrigerator. After cheesecakes have completely cooled in the refrigerator, loosely cover with plastic wrap.
PREPARE CARAMEL APPLE TOPPING:
In a saucepan on medium heat, add the diced and finely chopped apple, butter, cinnamon and cloves. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until apples are softened, stirring occasionally. Add the caramel sauce to the pan and stir until combined with the apple mixture. If topping is too loose for your desired consistency, add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch to the mixture and stir until combined. Transfer apples to a bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, put topping in the fridge to completely cool. Once completely cool, loosely cover the caramel apple topping with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Top cooled cheesecakes with cooled caramel apple topping when ready to serve.
Recipe courtesy of Kelly Mikolich http://www.kellylynnssweetsandtreats.com/mini-caramel-apple-cheesecakes/