You don’t need a reason (other than you’re hungry) to enjoy these Mini Caramel Cheesecakes with a chocolate cookie crust, caramel cheesecake filling, caramel whipped cream, and TURTLES® caramel nut clusters.
Monday, Monday, Monday. As much as I love my job, I still get the Sunday blues the night before when I realize the weekend is over and it’s back to adulting. There are days where I wish I had enough money to not worry about a paycheck and travel the world, but since I have a better shot at being killed by a vending machine than buying a winning lottery ticket (thanks Google for actually finding that answer!), back to work it is. It also doesn’t help that it feels like you’re walking into an oven the moment you stepped outside. I went for my daily walk the other day, and I looked like I was having a hot flash when I got back.
The best way to get through today is knowing you have dessert waiting for you when you’re done. Not just any dessert. A dessert served cold to cool you down after you’re dying from the humidity outside. Who wants to eat a lukewarm cupcake or a piping hot cobbler when you’re sweating? You’d think by now I’d get tired of making cheesecake recipes, but nope I’m back with another one. These Mini Caramel Cheesecakes are my best recipe yet as they are loaded with caramel, including a caramel whipped cream drenched in a caramel drizzle (mainly because I couldn’t get my squeeze bottle to work properly, but eh) and TURTLES® caramel nut clusters. You don’t need a reason to make these cheesecakes, but I did think of a few more if anybody asks:
- You don’t want to adult anymore. Adulting is hard.
- You will more likely die from a lightning strike than winning the lottery, so you better make these before the next storm rolls in.
- You just want to eat cheesecake.
These cheesecakes are definitely packed with #allthecaramel – caramel cheesecake filling, caramel drizzle, TURTLES® candies, and – wait for it – caramel whipped cream. Yes, I said it. Caramel whipped cream. Although I was expecting the color to be more, well, caramel, the taste is there.
There’s one more ingredient that puts these caramel cheesecakes over the top – DeMet’s TURTLES® candies. Let’s talk about turtles from a culinary sense. A turtle is a candy confection of chocolate, caramel, and pecans that when mixed together, look like a turtle with nuts for the feet and head. Most turtle desserts are named for those three flavors together without the actual candy, but I used chopped TURTLES® Minis, much like you would use chocolate chips or peanut butter cups.
Word of advice – you may need to buy two bags to taste test the product, just to be 100 percent sure it’s good. Ahem. Although they make their candies with a variety of nuts – pecans, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, and cashews – I used Original with pecans. Feel free to use your favorite nut cluster. If you can’t find the minis, no problem! Chopping up regular ones work just as well. I think I’m going to try peanut next.
- 1 1/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
- 1 cup chopped TURTLES® Minis, any flavor
Caramel Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce + more for drizzle
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 whole TURTLES® Minis
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and melted butter until moistened and clumpy. Press roughly 2 tablespoons into the bottom of each paper liner and bake 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and caramel. Add the chopped TURTLES® Minis.
- Spoon the batter into each liner and bake 20-25 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely at room temperature then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- For the whipped cream: In a large mixing bowl (preferably a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), beat the cream on high speed until it thickens and soft peaks form (when you pull the beaters straight up, peaks will form but fall over). Gradually add the caramel and vanilla then continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (peaks will form but not fall over).
- Garnish cheesecakes with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and TURTLES® Minis. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.