Mini Turtle Cheesecakes
Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: The classic turtle combination of pecans, caramel, and chocolate is to die for!!
Texture: Sooo many textures, just the way I like it.
Ease: Much quicker and easier than a full-sized cheesecake.
Appearance: Absolutely adorable.
Pros: Perfect bite-sized treat for any occasion. These are a total crowd-pleaser.
Would I make this again? Absolutely.
Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?
I hope it was filled with the most magnificent food you’ve eaten in a while. Or, at the very least, good company! Between testing out Thanksgiving recipes to share with you, Friendsgiving, and multiple Thanksgivings with different parts of the family, I have certainly had my fair share of Thanksgiving food!
Actually, I made these Mini Turtle Cheesecakes for Friendsgiving and they literally didn’t last longer than 5 minutes on the table before they vanished. Cheesecake is usually a guaranteed crowd-pleaser but I think mini cheesecakes are even better for a party. They’re much easier to make, transport, and eat. Win win win!
Mini Turtle Cheesecakes Tips
- I used this mini cheesecake pan. The bottoms are removeable just like a springform or tart pan so you can pop out each cheesecake and keep it perfectly in tact. If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, you could use a muffin tin. Just be sure to line it with nonstick paper or foil liners, otherwise the graham cracker crust might crumble and the cheesecake might stick when you go to remove them.
- These babies are topped with caramel sauce, I prefer salted caramel. I have a full step-by-step video tutorial on making homemade caramel here. To make the recipe easier, you can of course use store-bought. Just make sure it’s high quality! I love Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel sauce.
- Keep the cheesecakes well chilled until serving so the caramel doesn’t run too much.
Mini Turtle Cheesecakes
For the crust
- 1 sleeve (9 cookies, 4.8 ounces) graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
For the topping
- Salted caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted*
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12 cup mini cheesecake pan with nonstick spray.
Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this).
Bake the crusts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, cream, salt, and cinnamon and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. At this point the cheesecakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Make the topping:
Once chilled, top each cheesecake with a spoonful of caramel sauce, just enough to cover but not too much that it completely overflows. Press pecans into the caramel.
Place the chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted. Transfer to a small ziptop bag and snip a small hole in one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the caramel and pecans. Return to the fridge to chill until ready to serve.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
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