Mini Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

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On General Conference weekend, I tend to have a little more time to make something special in the kitchen.
First off, I never ever ever ever make breakfast on conference weekend. We have cereal! Yay!
I see lots of wonderful people making decadent fancy breakfasts Sunday morning – more power to you fine folks. I never do it. Why? I’m going to be in the kitchen making a huge dinner and dessert anyways! As much as I love spending time in the kitchen, I try to keep it simple for breakfast when I know a large dinner is on it’s way, and a time-consuming dessert is in the works.
We tried out a merk new soup recipe (to come later this month!) and made these little lovelies for dessert.

When I saw a beautiful cheesecake on Will Cook for Smiles, I was completely inspired to make one my self – but I wanted to put my own twist on it, and make them my own somehow. Well, my mini-cheesecake pan has been neglected for a good month, so it was time to bust it out again for something with a little seasonal twist.
I cut the apple count down, and the cheesecake recipe in half, and added one of my very favorite secret ingredients to the crust:
It seriously will take your crust from normal graham cracker whatever, to AMAZING new depths of flavor. Ever since I started doing this, it has completely changed my crusts, and adds a little extra delightful something that people won’t be able to pick out. Well, now you know my dirty little secret.
Also, last minute, I added a sprinkle of sea salt on the bath of caramel gracing each mini morsel. Ryan hated it (he’s not a big sweet&salty man – won’t even eat a pretzel if I paid him). I, on the other hand, thought it was incredible! I snapped these photos before I added the salt, so you won’t see any on there, but I promise, add the dang salt to the cheesecake.
We ate a few of the cheesecakes and then drove up the canyon for a beautiful look at those firey-changing leaves. Fall is my nirvana. I’m holding on to it as close as I can before my least favorite season settles in soon.

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecakes
makes 12 mini cheesecakes

1 1/2 C finely crushed graham crackers
1/4 C dark brown sugar
1 heaping T of molasses
5 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla

apple filling:
2 small/medium granny smith apples, cored and chopped very fine
2 T butter
2 T brown sugar
1/4 C caramel (I just used Hershey’s ice-cream caramel topping)

1 1/2 8oz cream cheese packs (12 oz total)
1/3 C juice from cooking the apples
1 T sour cream
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
3/4 T corn starch
1/4 C sugar

1 granny smith apple, sliced thin
caramel drizzle
2 C boiling water
1 T sugar
sprinkle of sea salt

special equipment:
Mini Cheesecake Pan
Large piping bag

1. Grease your mini cheesecake pan very well. Set aside. Preheat panggangan to 325.
2. Make crust: using a food processor, crumb together all the ingredients. Press about 2 tablespoons of graham cracker mix into each little cup evenly, and allow crust to climb up the sides a little bit. Set aside.
3. Make apple filling: In a small sauce pan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar and caramel. Add apples to the sauce and cook on medium heat, covered, until apples are soft. Drain sauce into a liquid measuring cup and spread about 1 T apple mixture into each cup. Set aside once more.
4. Make cheesecake: beat cream cheese into a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, sour cream, and juice from apples. Incorporate thoroughly. Add egg, beat well. Then add sugar and corn starch until everything is mixed very well together. About a cup at a time, add cheesecake filling to the piping bag, and pipe enough cheesecake into each cup to fill it almost to the top. Smooth down with a spoon. Repeat with remaining cheesecake filling. You may have a teeny bit leftover.
5. Bake mini cheesecakes for about 20-25 minutes (check on them, they may need a little more time, or a little less, depending on how full the cups are, and the evenness of your panggangan temperature). Remove from oven, and let cool completely.
6. Make topping: Place thin apple slices in boiling water for about 30 seconds to soften them, then place 2 apple slices on each cup. Drizzle with caramel, and sprinkle with sea salt.

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