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:
molasses 
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.
xo,
blondie

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecakes
makes 12 mini cheesecakes

crust:
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)

cheesecake:
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

topping:
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

method:
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.

recipe adapted from: will cook for smiles

On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

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