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Caramel Chocolate Seduction

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These mini chocolate cheesecakes, with their crisp cookie crust, creamy filling, and caramel-nut topping, will be the centerpiece of your dessert buffet.

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At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
12 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Crust

  • 2/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 cup (8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • heaping 3/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup, light or dark
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 heaping cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

Topping

  • 3 ounces caramel, from a block, or 8 to 10 unwrapped candies
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have ready a 12-well round or heart-shaped pan. Each well should be 1 1/2" to 2" across.
  2. To make the crust: Mix all of the crust ingredients.
  3. Place a tablespoon of crumbs in each cup of the pan, pressing into the bottom and about 1/4" up the sides.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool slightly.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.
  6. To make the filling: Beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy.
  7. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the melted chocolate, vanilla, and egg.
  8. Use about 2 heaping tablespoon cookie scoops to fill each cup about 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges — a small spot in the middle should still look soft.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool slowly to room temperature.
  11. To make the glaze: Place the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, or put the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at low power. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  12. Cool, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, so that the glaze thickens slightly but is still pourable.
  13. Pour about 1 tablespoon of chocolate glaze onto each cheesecake, tilting the pan to cover completely.
  14. Chill the cheesecakes before removing them from the pan.
  15. To make the topping: Place caramel and cream in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, or put the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at low power. Stir frequently, until melted and smooth.
  16. Just before serving, drizzle cheesecakes with melted caramel and sprinkle with toasted nuts.
  17. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze (before adding caramel to the top) for up to a month.