Salted Caramel Chocolate Cheesecakes

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Sometimes there are tubs of cream cheese lying around in our house. Okay more like there is a stack of cream cheese in our fridge. I blame this atrocity on Bruegger’s Bagels. Because a baker’s dozen of bagels comes with not one but two tubs of cream cheese. And every Friday when I arrive at Bruegger’s at the ungodly hour of 7am, those employees give me that glance like “come on we’re giving you a free tub of cream cheese here.” And so, I have a stack of cream cheese in the fridge about 6 tubs high because 2 tubs a week for months adds up folks…just do the math.

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I guess I could just slowly eat through said stack of cream cheese, but cheesecake sounds like a much better alternative. And salted caramel chocolate cheesecake is the best way to get this job done, because who doesn’t like copious amounts of caramel sprinkled with flaky sea salt on top of a creamy chocolate base?

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As if there wasn’t enough chocolate (there’s never enough chocolate), I just had to top it off (bottom it out?) with a chewy, rich, and fudgy brownie. I mean, I didn’t have any graham crackers or other suitable cookies to make a crust, so I had no other choice but to make a 1/2 batch of brownie batter and lick the spoon, multiple times. Yes, these are some hard times we face.

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You can find the recipe for the brownie bottoms here. The recipe is my favorite for brownies and it makes a really chocolatey, chewy, and fudgy cheesecake base, with a little bit of edge on each cheesecake (my favorite part).

Half the brownie recipe to get enough to make 21-24 cheesecake bottoms (depending on how thick you want the base). If you would like to make just 8 cheesecakes, quarter the recipe and have slightly thicker brownie bottoms. Or, use the extra to bake a small batch of brownies as quality control for the chef (your secret is safe with me).

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray. Then scoop in a heaping teaspoon of brownie batter into each cavity. Use a toothpick to spread the batter to the edges of the tin, but don’t worry about lumps or an uneven surface.

Bake the brownie bottoms for 6 minutes. Then set out to cool while making the cheesecake filling.

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These cheesecakes are deadly delicious. Be warned, they will disappear within 24 hours. (Notice how the recipe makes 8 and there are 7 in the photos…)

*Note: I said I had 6 tubs of cream cheese. Well I used the plain ones to make these chocolate cheesecakes and used the flavored ones (honey walnut and strawberry) to make other flavors of cheesecake. To do so, follow the same recipe but omit the melted chocolate.

Oven Temperature: 350˚F
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: 8 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature or softened in the microwave)
3/8 cup sugar (or 6 Tablespoons)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces chocolate, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients until smooth.

Divide the batter between 8 muffin cavities with brownie bottoms.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you would like your cheesecakes to be perfectly smooth, it is best to bake them in a water bath. To do this, fill a pan halfway up the sides with hot water. I recommend placing the pan in the oven before adding water to minimize spillage. Then place your muffin tin inside and bake as normal.

Once baked, cool at room temperature for an hour. Then place in the refrigerator until chilled (a couple hours). Spoon on some caramel sauce (my recipe is here) and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

Enjoy!

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