- Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine the crust ingredients.
- Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the crust crumbs into the bottom of each mini cheesecake cell. Using the blunt end of a wooden spoon or similar, press the crumbs until firmly and evenly compacted.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Place the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and mix on medium/high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the whipping cream and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly blended. Add the egg yolks and egg and mix on low until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture on top of the crumb crusts leaving about a 1/2″ between the top of the filling and the top of the pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the cheesecakes are firm to the touch. (They will puff up above the top of the pan. Don't worry, they sink as they cool, and the caramel hides any imperfections.)
- Allow the cakes to completely cool on a wire rack before removing them from the pans.
- Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.
- Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour over cheesecakes. Top with sea salt or chopped pecans.