I’m so excited to share these tarts with you. They are just so good in so many ways that I am not entirely sure where to start to tell you about them. Do I talk about how they’re so tiny? Or how good they are? Or maybe I should express my excitement over the short ingredient list?
I have to pick one to get started, so let’s go with flavor. If you say “cream cheese pie crust” and “caramel,” I’m pretty much sold without knowing anything else. With these tarts, you do indeed begin with cream cheese pie crust. Then, fill that with a simple caramel filling. What comes next is up to you. A pinch of sea salt, whipped cream, glazed pecans, a single toasted hazelnut, dried fruit, chocolate shavings… All of these are excellent answers.
Now, we’ll move on to the tiny aspect. I have such a soft spot for tiny desserts. Mini versions are, by default, cuter. Right? And, I really like them for large-ish gatherings because there’s no cutting slices of anything. With these tarts, you can make many, many variations just by using different toppings. Just imagine these in all their garnished glory on a dessert tray. Gorgeous!
If all of that weren’t enough to sell you on these, let’s talk about how simple they are to make and how the ingredient list is so unbelievably short. These beauties can be made with just five ingredients. FIVE! Just three for the crust and two for the caramel filling. Then, just add whatever garnishes you like.
I love the simplicity of these little beauties. And, of course, the flavor is just lovely. I got a little carried away trying out different garnishes. It’s easy to do! But, don’t think you have to garnish them. They are perfectly lovely all on their own.
I used Werther’s Original® Baking Caramels for the filling. You may remember them from those Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies. For more caramel recipes and ideas, be sure to visit Werther’s Caramel Shoppe.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 9 ounces Werther's Original® Baking Caramels (about 30 caramels)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- optional garnishes: whipped cream, coarse salt, glazed nuts, dried fruits, toasted nuts
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour, mixing just until combined.
Using a tablespoonful of dough at a time, roll dough into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease 42* mini muffin cups.
Place a dough ball in each muffin cup. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the cup.**
Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the tart shells are lightly browned.
Place pans on wire racks to cool. If the bottom of the crusts puffed up a bit, use a tart tamper or the end of the handle of a wooden spoon to press them back down.
Allow the tart shells to cool. Then, remove the tarts to a rimmed baking sheet.
Place caramels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at half-power in microwave in 30-second increments until caramel melts when stirred. Stir until smooth.
Fill each tart shell with about 1 teaspoon of caramel mixture. Place tarts in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Allow the tarts to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired before serving.
*After you roll all of the dough into balls, adjust this number if necessary.
**I used a tart tamper to press the dough into the cups. You can also just use your fingers. The end of the handle of a wooden spoon will help get the bottom flat all the way to the sides. If the dough sticks to the tamper or spoon, you can spray it lightly with cooking spray.
Crust recipe adapted from Lemon Chess Tartlets.
Disclosure: Werther’s provided me with product samples and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.