And we’re back. Huh? You looking at me?
Oh how I missed that little bunny face. Luckily, I was able to distract myself with a trip to my favorite store to stock up on goodies.
Today, I’m heading back home to my husband and bunny to enjoy the rest of my vacation. What do you plan on doing with the rest of your vacation?
Well, I’m so glad you asked. Nothing (read: eat cheesecake)! Well, except for that cooking/baking schedule I may have jotted down yesterday, where I meticulously planned out my kitchen schedule for the rest of the vacation.
Because this is what I do with my time off. But hey, if we all get to reap the benefits, who cares about my compulsive behaviors?!? Right?
Right. Anyway, I’ve wanted to make mini cheesecakes forever! (That list I constantly update on my computer.) When I made a batch of apple cider caramel sauce, with absolutely no plans as to what to do with it, except eating it straight out of the jar at night with a spoon, I realized the opportunity to take an item off my baking bucket list.
I made these cheesecakes with cream cheese and ricotta, because I like the lighter texture imparted by the fluffy ricotta. Swirl those little cheesecakes with some caramel (doesn’t have to be homemade) before popping them in the oven, and you’ve got individual serving-sized heaven cakes.
One Year Ago: Pineapple Tarts
- FOR THE CRUST:
- ½ cup pecan halves
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ? tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp honey
- FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
- 1 cup ricotta
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Caramel sauce for swirling (recipe below)
- FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:
- 2 cups apple cider
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- First make the caramel sauce if using this recipe. Pour the apple cider into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until cider is reduced to ¼ cup. It will be fairly thick and syrupy.
- Add the sugar, cream, salt and spices. Whisk until well blended, then bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool. The caramel will thicken as it cools, so to make it the proper consistency for swirling, reheat it in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
- Next, make the cheesecakes. Preheat oven to 325°F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- To make the crust, combine pecans, flour, and salt in a food processor and run until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add honey and continue to process until evenly combined.
- Gently press a large spoonful of crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of each cupcake liner and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crusts begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Next, make the filling. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add ricotta and mix to combine. Mix in sugar, honey, and vanilla. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is creamy and well blended.
- Fill each cupcake liner, leaving at least ½-inch of room from the top. Top filling with a dollop of caramel sauce, and swirl with a toothpick or butter knife to create a marbled effect.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until filling is puffed and mostly set (if the center is still a little jiggly, that’s ok). Allow cheesecakes to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
Cheesecakes adapted from Cakes n’ Bakes
Caramel Sauce adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine