Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Bottom Cheesecakes with Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel
You can probably tell by visiting my recipe index that I LOVE cheesecake. I’ve been working on adding more cheesecake-based recipes to it (it may take a few months, so bare with me), and I’m starting with this one! These mini New York cheesecakes have chocolate chip cookie crusts and are topped with a decadent vanilla bean salted caramel. They’re basically little bites of heaven!
You could definitely make this into a full-size cheesecake, but since I didn’t want a giant one tempting me every time I opened our fridge, I decided it would be best to just make 12 mini ones :) Looking back it was a good idea… we gobbled these babies up within two days!
So let’s talk about the process and what you’ll need. To start, grab a package of refrigerated Nestlé® Toll® House Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies. I know, I know. I didn’t use my own dough. GASP! I would have, but honestly I had such a busy/crazy week I just didn’t have the time or energy to make a small batch of it. One chunk of the Nestlé® dough was the perfect size to pat into a round and press into the bottom of my pan for the crust or base. I baked them for a few minutes before pouring the filling on top. The filling is just a quartered recipe of my Perfect New York Cheesecake. It’s thick, creamy and rich. Just whip it up and pour it over the warm cookie. Bake the cheesecakes until set, about 25 minutes, then while they’re cooling make the caramel.
Don’t be afraid of making the caramel! I know a lot of people are intimidated by the whole process (I know I was the first time I made it). Just read the instructions, have everything prepped out, go slow, and breathe! It’s a lot easier than you think… and the results are well worth a little bit of stress :) At the very end when you remove the caramel from the stovetop you’ll stir in the sea salt and vanilla bean paste. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste you can scrape the inside of half a vanilla bean and add that along with 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract. It’s not necessary, but it really makes the salted caramel 10x better. I know, is that even possible? It is.
Spoon the warm caramel over the mini cheesecakes and refrigerate until chilled. I’d give them at least 1 hour, but usually I leave them in the fridge for about 2 hours. When you’re ready to eat them, add a pinch of sea salt flakes to the top and enjoy! And trust me, you will. These tiny little cheesecakes won’t last long, so savor every bite!
Next time you’re looking for a fun, decadent little treat, you’ve gotta whip up a pan of these mini cheesecakes. They’ll be a hit with everyone who is lucky enough to try one!
Baking Tools & Ingredients You Will Need For This Recipe:
- Balloon Whisk
- Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan
- Sea Salt Flakes
- Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Paste
- 12 pieces Nestlé® Toll House® Mini Chip Chocolate Chip Cookie dough
- ½ lb. or (1) 8 oz. block plain cream cheese, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ c. + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 3 tbsp. sour cream, room temperature
- 3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- Salted Caramel:
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp. salted butter, room temperature
- ½ c. heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- 1 tsp. salt (I prefer non-iodized sea salt)
- ½ tsp. vanilla bean paste*
- Maldon sea salt flakes for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 12-well mini cheesecake pan with baking spray. Pat 1 square of cookie dough into a circle and place in the bottom of each well. Place in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove and tap the pan on the counter so that the dough flattens a bit.
- To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer for approximately 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the sugar and flour, then turn back up to high and beat for an additional minute. With mixing speed on low, add the egg, mixing until incorporated. Add the sour cream, then the heavy cream, beat on high for 1 minute.
- Divide evenly between the wells, filling each ¼" below the top. You'll may have just a tad bit extra left over, that's ok. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheesecakes are set in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. They may sink in the centers a tad bit, but that creates a nice little spot for the caramel.
- While the cheesecakes are cooling, make the caramel. Heat the granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The sugar will begin to form clumps and will eventually melt and turn brown. Once the sugar has melted completely, add the butter. The mixture will bubble, continue stirring for 1-2 minutes or until the butter has completely melted, then add the cream. Boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla bean paste. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecakes from the pan, place in a air-tight container. Pour a bit of the salted caramel over top. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Garnish with a few flakes of sea salt right before serving.
Recipe source: Life Made Simple