One of the blogs I follow is Karen’s Kitchen Stories, and more than once I’ve featured recipes from her site, independently of the assignment from The Secret Recipe Club (pause to dry a furtive tear). We are also friends on Facebook and for some odd reason keep tempting each other with very important things such as new cookbooks (preferably related to bread, but not necessarily so), new cooking gadgets or ingredients. Our friendship certainly has a positive impact on the economy of the US of A. Not too long ago, Karen blogged about impossibly adorable mini-cheesecakes. To make them, she used an equally adorable mini-cheesecake pan. I performed some quick calculations. We live 1,513 miles apart. It would be downright impossible to go borrow her pan on a whim. Corollarium #1: I had to order my own. Reluctantly, that’s what I did. Corollarium #2: I can now share with you my first batch of mini-cheesecakes. Corollarium #3: my readers shall be thrilled.
CIDER MINI-CHEESECAKES WITH CARAMEL SAUCE
(adapted from Karen Kitchen’s Stories)
9 sheets of Graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/8 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup boiled cider
1/4 cup heavy cream
caramel sauce for topping (home-made is best, I sinned)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cavity muffin pan with paper liners, or spray a mini cheesecake pan with spray oil. In a small bowl or the bowl of a mini food processor, mix together the crushed graham crackers, 1 1/2 T sugar, and melted butter. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the pan, and tamp it down into an even layer with some of the Graham cracker mixture coming up the sides. Bake the crust in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and let cool while you make the filling.
In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar with a mixer on low-speed until smooth. Stir in the flour. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined. Add the vanilla, boiled cider, and heavy cream, and mix until combined. Tap the mixing bowl on the counter about 30 times to release any air bubbles.
If you are using a mini cheesecake pan, fill each one up to the top. You will have extra batter. If you are using a muffin pan, Divide the batter among the cavities to about 2/3 full.
If you are using a mini cheesecake pan, bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the centers are slightly jiggly. If you are using a muffin pan, bake for 20 to 23 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for an hour. Once they are cooled, refrigerate, covered loosely with wax paper and plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours. They can also be frozen after chilling.
Right before serving, top with a small amount of caramel sauce, either homemade or purchased.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I adapted Karen’s recipe using another recipe for boiled cider cheesecake found at Food52. My friend Gary, patissier extraordinaire gave me some pointers, because as you know, I am a bit of a wimp for departing from recipes when it comes to baking. Interestingly enough, I ordered boiled cider after reading another post by Karen, so this is an example of virtual gastronomic convergence.
We took the cheesecakes to our lab meeting, because having only 12 in the batch would make it hard to take to our whole department. They turned out absolutely delicious! Cheesecakes can be a bit bland, perhaps that’s why they normally have some type of topping. The boiled cider made them taste a lot more complex. I wish I had the energy to make the caramel sauce myself, but maybe next time. These will definitely go to my top 5 favorite desserts to make and enjoy. Perfect size, beautiful to look at, and fun to eat. I can hardly wait to try other uses for my cute pan. Mini-quiches, for instance, mini-mousses… so many possibilities… Small is definitely beautiful (wink, wink).
As I finished composing this post, I went to add the links to recipes in previous years, and to my amazement, exactly one year ago I posted not one, but two recipes from Karen’s blog, as her blog was my assignment in The Secret Recipe Club. And I made MINI-meatloaves… Can you imagine the odds of this? Too cool for words.
ONE YEAR AGO: Rustic Ciabatta and Mini-Meatloaves
TWO YEARS AGO: Green Rice
THREE YEARS AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches
FOUR YEARS AGO: Beetroot Sourdough for the Holidays
FIVE YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust
SIX YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread