Ok, so Cooking Classy had me at cheesecake but the salted caramel topping iced the cake.  So to speak.  The optional sauce made with fresh strawberries, well, that was like the cherry on top.   Imagine these with a chocolate ganache topping.  Oh yes.  Or maybe a sauce made with fresh blueberries?  Ok, I’ll stop now.  Go make these.  Now.  You’re welcome.

Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yield:  24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (from 18 sheets)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 7 Tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 4 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salted Caramel Sauce or Strawberry Sauce, recipes follow

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together crushed graham crackers with 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir mixture until evenly coated. Divide graham cracker mixture among 24 paper lined muffin cups, adding about a heaping Tbsp to each. Press mixture into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing filling.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar with 3 Tbsp flour until well blended. Add softened cream cheese to a separate mixing bowl and pour sugar mixture over top.
  • Blend mixture on low speed until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time and blend on low speed, while scraping sides and bottom of bowl and mixing just until combined after each addition.
  • Add vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream and mix just until combined. Tap mixing bowl against counter top about 30 times to release some of the air bubbles.
  • Divide mixture among muffin cups filling each cup nearly full.
  • Bake in preheated oven 20 – 23 minutes, centers should still jiggle slightly, don’t overbake (if they begin to crack they are starting to become over baked).
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator and chill 2 hours.
  • Serve chilled with a spoonful of Salted Caramel Sauce or Strawberry Sauce (note: for best results spoon topping on just before serving). Store in an airtight container in refrigerator or freeze.

Strawberry Sauce

 Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well chopped and mixture is beginning to break down and liquefy (I liked it with some small pieces not completely pureed). Transfer to an airtight container and chill 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
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Caramel Sauce

 Ingredients

  • 1 1 /2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Maldon or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

  • Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed. In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, heat sugar and water over moderately high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar.
  • Once mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, carefully swirling pan occasionally.
  • Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat. Wait 3 seconds then carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth.
  • Allow caramel to cool several minutes then pour into a glass jar to cool. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt after spooning caramel over cheesecakes.

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