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Marché Mini Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecakes with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

For the Crust:
1½ sleeves graham crackers (12 crackers)
1/3 cup melted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar

For the Filling:
three – 8 ounce packages of full fat cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup full fat sour cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bourbon vanilla paste
1 cup Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter (or substitute 1 cup canned pumpkin with 3 teaspoons cinnamon & 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg added)

For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bourbon vanilla paste
2 tablespoons good quality bourbon (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice blend

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 24-count mini muffin tin with paper liners. The recipe makes approximately 72 mini cheesecakes so if you have more than one mini tin line all of them at once.

To Prepare Crust:
In mixing bowl or food processor crush graham crackers into crumbs. Add melted butter and sugar and mix well. Place a heaping teaspoon of crust mixture into each muffin liner. Press crumb mixture down with fingers or flat side of a spoon. Bake 5 minutes or longer if more browned crust is desired.

To Prepare Filling:
In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in sour cream. Add eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Remove 1.5 cups of white batter and reserve. Add pumpkin pecan butter (or pumpkin spice mixture) to batter left in bowl and mix well. Place a scant teaspoon of reserved white batter on top of each crust. Fill muffin cups with pumpkin batter almost to the top of the muffin liners. Bake cheesecakes 13-17 minutes or until they are puffed up and cracked on top. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

To make Caramel sauce:
Pour sugar and water into large sauce pan over medium high heat. DO NOT STIR. Swirl the pan occasionally until the color turns to amber. Turn off the heat and whisk in heavy cream & pie spice, and bourbon if using. Allow to cool and store in refrigerator in an air tight glass container.

To Serve:
Top with dollop of caramel and chopped pecans if desired.