Dive into these Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes combining rich cheesecake and nutty pecan toppings on a spicy graham cracker base. A perfect bite-sized delight for your holiday spread.
There’s always that one family dish that holds a special place in your heart, right? For me, it was always the Pecan Pie at Christmas. I remember sneaking into the kitchen as a kid, snatching tiny bites of it when no one was looking. Fast forward to my experimental college days (in the kitchen, folks!), I decided to combine my love for pecan pie with my newfound passion for cheesecakes. And voila! These Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes were born. A perfect love child of two of the most iconic desserts. Now, every holiday season, I’m the go-to dessert master in my family, and this recipe is the reason.
Why You’ll Love Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes:
Ah, let’s talk about what makes these little beauties stand out from the dessert crowd. Firstly, it’s like getting the best of both worlds – the richness of cheesecake paired with the sweet, nutty goodness of pecan pie. Secondly, their mini size is perfect for portion control – because let’s be real, we all promise to have “just a small slice”, right? And lastly, they make for a gorgeous, Instagram-worthy dessert table addition. Trust me; your guests will snap, eat, and repeat!
Ingredient Notes for the Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes:
For the graham cracker crust, ensure that the graham crackers are finely crushed to give that smooth texture. Light brown sugar is recommended as it complements the nutty taste. If you’re feeling adventurous, a dash of nutmeg can elevate the flavor profile. For the cheesecake filling, room temperature ingredients are essential to achieve that creamy consistency. No shortcuts here, pals! Lastly, always use toasted pecans for the topping. The toasting brings out the deep nutty aroma, enhancing the entire dish.
How To Make Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes:
Crust Creation: Start by preheating that oven to 325 F. Get your cupcake pan ready with those cute paper liners. In a big bowl, let the graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon mingle. Now, pour in the melted butter, giving it a good stir to ensure all those crumbs get some buttery love. Press this mix (about 2 tablespoons per liner) to the bottom of each liner.
Filling Fundamentals: Whip up the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, sour cream, and cornstarch. Mix but don’t go overboard. Gently introduce the beaten eggs and mix again. Spoon this creamy delight over your crusts. Bake them for 20-25 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when the centers have a slight jiggle but are mostly set. Cool your heels for an hour as they rest.
Topping Time: Bring out a saucepan. Melt butter and brown sugar until they’re having a bubbly party. Spice it up with cinnamon, then add the heavy whipping cream and those beautiful toasted pecans. After a 10-minute cooling spell, spoon this caramel nutty delight over your cheesecakes.
The best thing about these mini cheesecakes? They store wonderfully. Place them in an airtight container, and they can chill in your fridge for up to 4 days. Got a ton leftover? No worries. Pop them into the freezer. Just remember to thaw them in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
Variations and Substitutions:
Feeling a little nutty? Swap the pecans with walnuts or almonds.
If graham crackers aren’t your jam, opt for digestive biscuits or even an Oreo base (because, why not?).
If you’re going dairy-free, almond or coconut cream can replace the heavy cream in the topping.
For an extra festive flair, a splash of bourbon in the pecan topping can elevate these bites to an entirely new level of holiday cheer.
Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes
- For the Graham Cracker Base:
- 1 ½ cups of finely crushed graham crackers
- 2 Tablespoons of light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup of unsalted butter in a melted state and slightly cooled
- For the Cheesecake Mixture:
- 16 oz. of cream cheese brought to room temperature
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons of sour cream
- 2 eggs gently whisked
- For the Pecan Topping:
- 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ½ cup of light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of pecans toasted and finely chopped
Preparation of Oven and Pan:
- Begin by preheating the oven to 325°F (163°C). Arrange a standard 12-cup cupcake pan with appropriate paper liners.
Construction of the Graham Cracker Base:
- In a mixing bowl, amalgamate the crushed graham crackers, light brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Subsequently, introduce the melted butter and ensure even moistening of the crumbs through thorough mixing. Deposit approximately 2 Tablespoons of the resultant mixture into each paper liner, pressing it to form a uniform layer.
Preparation of the Cheesecake Mixture:
- In another mixing vessel, combine the softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, sour cream, and cornstarch. Ensure even blending without overmixing. Incorporate the lightly beaten eggs into this mixture. Distribute the resultant creamy mixture over the previously prepared crusts in the cupcake pan.
- Insert the cupcake pan into the preheated oven and allow for a baking duration of 20-25 minutes. The ideal endpoint is achieved when the center of each cheesecake is primarily set with a slight wobble. Upon completion, remove the pan and let the cheesecakes cool for an hour.
Formulation of the Pecan Topping:
- Utilize a saucepan to melt the butter and integrate the brown sugar. Maintain medium heat and allow the mixture to bubble for a span of 3-5 minutes. Sequentially add the ground cinnamon, heavy cream, and the toasted and chopped pecans. Allow this mixture to cool for about 10 minutes before evenly distributing it atop the cooled cheesecakes.