These Salted Caramel White Chocolate Cheesecake Bites are little NY style cheesecakes. Rich, dense, creamy, and luscious. Topped with salted caramel and chopped macadamia nuts, if desired. Make them and watch 'em disappear fast.
Make Crust: In a large bowl, mix fine cookie crumbs with butter until well incorporated. Should resemble wet sand. Scoop 1 slightly rounded tsp crumb mixture evenly into lined mini muffin tins. Press down to form bottom crusts.
Preheat oven to 325F, with rack on lower middle position. Line mini muffin tins with liners.
Make Cheesecake Filling: In heavy saucepan, melt white chocolate chips together with half and half on low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat. In large bowl, mix together nearly melted cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and the melted white chocolate mixture.
Scoop 1 rounded TB batter evenly into lined mini muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes or until tops are puffy and no longer sticky upon light touch. Let cool to room temp and then cover and chill in fridge. Cheesecakes will sink in the center, which is perfect for this recipe.
Make Salted Caramel: In a heavy saucepan, place sugar in even layer. Heat sugar over medium-high, whisking frequently. Once it starts melting, whisk continuously as it cooks, until all clumps are melted down. Turn heat down to medium, insert thermometer into the melted sugar, and continue stirring until melted sugar turns red-brown. The minute your thermometer reads 350F, add all the butter (caramel may bubble up; be careful!) Whisk until completely melted. Immediately remove pan from heat, carefully pour in the cream, and whisk until a smooth sauce forms. Whisk in the flaky salt. Let sauce cool to almost room temp before drizzling over dessert. Store leftover sauce in airtight container for future use. (Keeps very well.)
Keep cheesecakes covered and chilled until ready to serve.