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Steps to Complete
Prepare caramel topping (if using store bought, skip to step 4): In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup. Put over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Refrain from stirring the sugar as it dissolves to avoid crystallizing the granules.
Once the sugar has liquefied and reached a caramel color, remove from heat and add butter. Mixture may fizz and bubble. Stir to melt through. Add cream and stir in. Mixture may need to be returned to heat for a moment to melt any sugar clumps that may have formed.
When the mixture is smooth and silky, stir in salt and vanilla and set aside to cool. Store caramel in fridge. Makes 3/4 cup.
Prepare crust: Preheat oven to 300-degrees F. Combine all crust ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a small bowl. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and divide the crumb mixture among the twelve cups.
Press crumbs to the bottom with fingers or the back or a spoon. Sprinkle about 8 chocolate chips onto the pressed crumbs and bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove tin from oven and, with the back of a spoon, smooth the melty chocolate chips in an even layer over the crust. Set aside.
Prepare cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. In a medium bowl with a hand held mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream and granulated sugar until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and caramel topping. Beat smooth. Add egg and again, beat smooth.
Spoon cheesecake batter onto the chocolate layers in the muffin tin. Cups can be filled nearly to the top. Tap tin onto counter tops a few times to remove any air bubbles in the batter.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 275-degrees F and continue to bake an additional 12-18 minutes. Cheesecakes are done when the tin can be jiggled and the cakes no longer wobble. Open oven door, turn off heat, and leave the cakes for 30 minutes. Remove tin from oven and let cool completely in tin, on a wire rack. Remove cakes from tin and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, garnish chilled cupcakes with additional caramel sauce, toffee bits, and whipped cream. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge.