Caramel cheesecake with pretzel crust
Cheese is my chocolate. For those who disagree, I hope you'll keep reading anyway.
Single serving cheesecakes are pretty much the only way I make cheesecake since there are only two of us. And even when we have company, this way seems much easier to serve and send home with guests.
This recipe comes with a twist...a pretzel crust (pun intended). The salty crust, silky caramel and tangy cheesecake make this dessert sweet but not too sweet.
Here is what you will need.
1/2 cup unsalted, crushed pretzels
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 brick cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg also at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup caramel*
*any kind of soft caramel will do, ice cream topping for example. I made mine by pouring a can of sweetened condensed milk into a mason jar and cooking it on low for 10 hours in a crockpot (overnight). Refrigerate leftovers (assuming you don't just eat it all with a spoon).
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add a 13x9 pan on the bottom rack filled half way with water.
To make the crust, combine the pretzel crumbs and melted butter. Since I bought unsalted pretzels, I tossed in a pinch of salt. I used a food processor but a spoon would do. You want a course sand consistency.
Fill 9 muffin cups (paper or silicone) with about 1 tablespoon of the crust. Use another cup to press the filling down firmly. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese, egg and sugar until completely smooth.
Use a large scoop to transfer the filling to the muffin cups. Remember not to fill too full, you still have to add caramel.
Now the fun part. To make this easy, I put the caramel into a piping bag with a wide tip. If you don't have one, a funnel or even a turkey baster may do the trick, just depends on how thick your sauce is. Squeeze about two teaspoons in there. Obviously, this isn't an exact science.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. The water bath helps prevent cracking. But if some crack, that's really just an excuse to add more caramel to the top. Note, if you are going to decorate with pretzels, do that right before serving or they get soggy.
Cool and pop into the fridge for at least one hour.
In normal sized liners, this recipe makes 9 cupcakes. But I've doubled and tripled the recipe without issue.
Hope you enjoy!