To make the crusts, in a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. Divide the mixture among the cups and, using your fingertips, press it evenly into the bottom. Bake until the crusts are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Reduce the heat to 300°F.
To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the spped to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cream and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the cups. Bake until the cheesecakes are set, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmolding.
To unmold, insert the dowel into the hole in the bottom of each cup. Gently push up to remove the cheesecake from the cup. Use a small spatula or butter knife to remove the cake from the metal bottom. If the cheesecakes are sticking to the pan, gently run a toothpick around each cheesecake to loosen it before pushing it out of the cup. Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.
For a great change you can vary the recipes to make these great desserts:.
Brulee: After removing the cheesecakes from the pan and just before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoons sugar over each cake. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer's instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles until the sugar melts and browns.
Caramel: Spoon 1 teaspoons caramel sauce onto each cooled baked crust, then pour in the batter and bake as directed.
Lemon: Add 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice and 1.5 tsp lemon zest to the batter along with the heavy cream. Continue as directed.
Strawberry: After beating in the sugar and salt, whisk 1/3 cup strawberry puree into the batter. Place 1 strawberry slice on each cooled baked crust, then pour in the batter and bake as directed.
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