Nothing but desserts

Salted caramel and dark chocolate mini-cheesecakes

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Let’s talk about balance. Let’s talk about muddling through as grown ups with real life jobs and not enough hours in the day. Let’s talk about cramming in as many work hours in the day as we can, just so we can take off some much needed time with our mum. About knowing you need to get those precious few breakfast moments back with your loved one, to start the day off right. But it’s also about drinking too much presecco too early on a Saturday with your bestie that you haven’t seen in far too long. It’s about going nuts in French Connection and buying a skirt that makes you feel awesome and is totally worth the eye watering price tag. This cheesecake is us balancing our lives. It’s taking time out to indulge ourselves, to simmer, to blitz, to spread, and to pour warm caramel sauce straight into our not so adult mouthes. 

This little cheesecake is small, sexy and packs a serious sweet tooth punch. Cutting through our cheesecake you’re greeted first with smooth gorgeous ganche chocolate cheesecake, then you hit the rich salted caramel that coats your mouth, and all this is married with our roasted nutty base. This desert brightens even the most miserable winter Sundays. So let’s not mess around any more and get that our indulgence on.

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Who knew salted caramel was so easy and so not scary? I didn’t end up with any hideous hot sugar war wounds as I had expected. Sugar, honey and butter gets melted in a pan till it gently foams and turns a deep honey-comb colour. We cook for a few minutes and then add in our cream and salt and swirl to combine. Once it’s cooked out for a few minutes more we leave to cool and turn our attention to our nutty base. Oh hey there one of our five a day!

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Given the richness of our salted caramel and dark chocolate we need a bit of balance in our cheesecake as we do in our life. Roasted nuts get blitzed with cinnamon, salt and prunes. No butter and biscuits for us. Adding in our coconut oil gives us a more grown up, more savoury base to nestle our sweet treats on tops.

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Time to get our fingers dirty and spoon our nutty base into our mini-cheesecakes tins. Use your fingers to press the base into the tins, this way you can feel how deep your layers are. Pour a generous layer of caramel sauce into the mini-cheesecake tins and then some into our mouthes. Then it’s time to chill our caramel. Because let’s face it, this is all about chilling, taking it easy and eating way too much caramel sauce.

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Next it’s simply a case of melting our chocolate powder with the cream to create a smooth chocolate base. Mascarpone meets chocolate cream meets creme fraiche. We whisk well and then it’s spreading time. Top each mini cheesecake generously with chocolate cheesecake filling and pour over the extra salted caramel sauce and some golden sprinkles.

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Ingredients – makes 4 mini cheesecakes

Nutty base inspired by this gorgeous peach summer tart recipe

1 cup of roasted mixed nuts, pick your favourite

1 cup of ground almonds

9 dates, pitted

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of coconut oil

A pinch of salt

Salted caramel

125ml of double cream

75g unsalted  butter

50g golden caster sugar

50g light brown sugar

50g honey

1 teaspoon cornish salt flakes

Chocolate cheesecake ganache filling

125g mascarpone cheese

6 tablespoons dark chocolate powder

50ml double cream

1 tablespoon creme fraiche

Steps

1. Put on ‘Dress on’, by Justin Timberlake. A song befitting for such a sweet little desert.

Salted caramel

2. Place the butter, honey and both sugars in a heavy bottomed small sauce pan. Gently heat till the butter has melted. Swirl every now and again but do not stir, especially with a  metal spoon. This will scare the sugar and cause it to freeze into a big ol’ lump. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture starts to foam and turns a deep honey-comb colour. After a few minutes add in the double cream and salt. Give a good swirl and let it cook for only a few minutes more. Remove from the heat when it reaches desired consistency.

Nutty nutty base

3. Place all your ingredients, bar the coconut oil, into a food processor and blitz. Once all the nuts are roughly chopped, add in the coconut oil and blitz again. You want to be left with a mixture that will stick together when pressed between your fingers. If it’s not sticking add a tiny bit of water at a time.

4. Spoon the mixture between your mini-tart cases and press down with your fingers. Don’t scrimp on the base or your cheesecake will fall apart when you pop it out of its case.

5. Once your base is ready, pour in as much salted caramel as you want. More is definitely more. Place your bases in the freezer for as long as it takes you to make the cheesecake filling. A quick blast in the freezer will help set the caramel sauce and make it easier to spread on the cheesecake topping.

Dark chocolate cheesecake filling

6. Place the chocolate powder and double cream in a glass bowl above a small pan of lightly simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of your glass bowl. Stir every now and again to help the chocolate powder melt into the cream. Once it’s all melted take it off the heat and allow to cool.

7. Mix the chocolate cream with the mascarpone and creme fraiche. If you prefer not to have the tang of the creme fraiche just add in a tablespoon more of the mascarpone.

8. Take your bases out of the freezer and spread the dark chocolate cheesecake filling all over the caramel sauce layer. Top with extra caramel sauce and optional golden sprinkles. Keep in the fridge and eat within a few days.

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