This is a recipe that desperately needed a new photo to do it justice. And I do mean desperate. This is the old photo from the original October post. It’s amazing the improvements a DSLR camera can make over a little point-and-shoot. Not to mention numerous practice shots over a year of me trying to take better photographs of my food. They both still taste like fall in a cheesecake, full of fresh, cinnamony apples topped with both crumbly streusel and a thick drizzle of salty caramel… but which one would you rather eat?
These mini cheesecakes are my take on a popular Paula Deen recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. Her recipe, perhaps not surprisingly, contained three whole sticks of butter. This recipe for 12 mini cheesecakes contains just one stick. Still an indulgence to be sure, but if you can eliminate two sticks of butter from your waist-line, why not do it?
Just like my white chocolate double raspberry cheesecakes, I love that these are individualized portions of cheesecake, meaning no messing with a springform pan bottom stuck to the crust, or a potential crack down the middle of an otherwise lovely whole cheesecake. Plus, it’s built-in portion control… provided you have 12 friends to distribute them to. If it’s just you and the whole tin of cheesecakes, well then, you’re on your own!
Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes
for the crust
- 12 Pecan Sandies if nut allergy, replace with 12 graham cracker squares
- 4 T. butter
- 1/4 t. salt
for the filling
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 granny smith apples cored, peeled and diced
- 1 T. butter
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
for the topping
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 1/3 c. quick-cooking oats
- 3 T. butter softened
- pinch salt
- Trader Joe's Salted Caramel Sauce
- Apple Chips optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add diced apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, or until apples are beginning to soften and brown slightly. Remove from heat to cool.
- Place 12 cupcake liners into cupcake pan. Crush Pecan Sandies (in a Ziploc bag with rolling pin, or using a food processor) and melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe dish. Mix the crushed cookies, melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Place a heaping tablespoon in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Tamp down with the back of the tablespoon.
- Place softened cream cheese and sugar in a bowl. Beat on medium speed for about one minute. Add vanilla and egg, and beat on low until smooth. Fold in the cooked apples with a spatula. Scoop about 1/4 cup of filling into each cupcake liner.
- In another bowl, place softened 3 tablespoons of butter, brown sugar and oats. Using a fork or pastry blender, mix well until butter is well incorporated, forming the streusel topping. Place about 1 tablespoon on top of the cheesecake mixture in each cup.
- Bake on middle rack of oven for 20-23 minutes, until streusel topping is beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool on counter for about 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecakes from the pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
- To serve, drizzle each cheesecake with a generous amount of the salted caramel sauce and top with an apple chip, if desired.