Mini Cheesecakes with Sugared Pecans
1 cup finely crushed shortbread cookies
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, plus ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour 2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 16 standard muffin tin cups with paper liners. In a medium size bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, finely chopped pecans, brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in melted butter until mixture resembles wet sand. Evenly divide in paper liners and press down firmly to form a solid bottom layer. Bake until set 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool completely. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until blended well. Beat in flour and remaining salt. Beat in eggs one at a time and vanilla. Divide filling equally among muffin cups. Bake until set 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin pans to wire racks and cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
In a small skillet, stir together coarsely chopped pecans and 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat until sugar melts and nuts are coated. Transfer to oiled parchment paper and separate nuts. Right before eating, remove cheesecakes from refrigerator, top with pecans to garnish. (Original recipe courtesy of Country Living Magazine)
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