Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

By Gretchen Kruesi

My sister recently discovered a recipe from Made with Pink (www.madewithpink.com) for Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars.  I love to bake (only wish I had more time – and skill). I especially love Fat Toad’s Farm new bourbon salted caramel and have been looking for a good recipe to try out.  I adjusted the original recipe to use local products and made a couple of alterations. You can check out the original recipe here: http://www.madewithpink.com/2010/11/salted-caramel-cheesecake-bars-dulce.html

I’ve tried many new recipes this year (mostly in the pie and cake end of things) but this is one of my favorites. Seriously, delicious! If you don’t try it you are missing out. And to boot it is very simple — no really, my first crack at it and I don’t have any adjustments. That never happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
Crust

2 1/4 cups graham cracker or digestive biscuit crumbs (from about 17 whole graham crackers)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

10 tablespoons (142g) butter, melted

Filling

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup (225g) sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup caramel (I’d recommend Fat Toad Farm’s Salted Bourbon Caramel but any flavor will do)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze 

2/3 cup caramel

2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

10 caramel chews

Sea Salt (I recommend the kind used on candy – bigger grain)


The crust:

  •  oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan coated with nonstick spray.
  • Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl.
  • Add melted butter; stir until coated.
  • Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan.
  • Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Cool completely on rack

 

 

The Filling:

  • Blend the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. This is where making sure the cream cheese is room temperature will be helpful. If it is too cold it will have some “chunks” in it, which isn’t a disaster but just not as “smooth”.
  • Add the eggs 1 at a time, blending for 3 to 5 seconds each time until incorporated.
  • Add in the Salted Bourbon
  • Caramel (or whatever flavor you’re craving) and vanilla and blend until just mixed – about 10 seconds.
  • Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust and bake until the cheesecake mixture is just set in center and the edges are puffed and slightly cracked. Original recipe called for 38 minutes but my oven took about 45 min.
  • Transfer to rack and cool completely

 

The Glaze:

  • Once the cheesecake bar is cooled, pour 2/3 cup Bourbon Caramel and 3 tablespoons of whipping cream in a glass measuring cup.
  • Microwave at 10 second intervals stirring between each interval.  Do this until the mixture is smooth and combined.
  • Next, take about 10 caramel chews and heat them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds until melted.
  • Quickly dump the melted caramel chews into the caramel mixture and stir continuously until combined. Note: make sure combined otherwise the caramel chews will become more solid than the caramel mixture. I put the mixture in the microwave for another 20 seconds.
  • The consistency should be pourable, but not too liquid. You want the caramel topping to be soft and gooey, but not too runny that is pours down the side of your bar once you cut it.
  • Cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

Lastly – (and this is the best part!) sprinkle the caramel glaze lightly with sea salt. This is what gives it the wonderful sweet and salty combo (my favorite).

It’s pretty rich and the caramel makes it a bit gooey. I brought mine to a pot luck so cut the squares in half for smaller size. I can report back they were a huge hit – and one recipe that I’ll be adding to my high rotation list.

 

 

 

Drum Roll Please!!!

We were so excited to wake up Thursday morning to learn that our Salted Bourbon Goat’s Milk Caramel was picked as a finalist for The Good Food Awards in San Francisco.


ABOUT THE GOOD FOOD AWARDS
The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced. For a long time, certifications for responsible food production and awards for superior taste have remained distinct—one honors social and environmental responsibility, while the other celebrates flavor. The Good Food Awards recognize that truly good food—the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities—contains all of these ingredients.

Now in its third year, Good Food Awards will be given to winners in nine categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, pickles, preserves and spirits. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good. The Good Food Awards Gold Seal marks the products of winners who have also obtained certified organic status while also leading in taste and social responsibility.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GOOD FOOD AWARDS 2013 FINALISTS ANNOUNCED 
View the list of 2013 Good Food Awards Finalists here. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 29, 2012) — The Good Food Awards is proud to announce this year’s 182 Finalists from 31 states, chosen from among 1,366 entries in nine industries. This year’s Finalists represent the leaders of a growing movement of conscientious, talented food producers in every part of the country, from the producer of Jalapeño Mint Pickles created to reduce food waste at an Austin farmers market to Tarentaise cheese, made at an educational farm in Vermont that hosts 700 children a year.  The 100 winners will be announced in a 400-person black tie Ceremony at the San Francisco Ferry Building ($95) on January 18, 2013, followed by a 15,000-person Good Food Awards Marketplace ($5) on January 19. Winners will sample and sell their winning products at the public Marketplace, which takes place alongside the renowned CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Tickets and details will be available at www.goodfoodawards.org in mid-December.

“With 40% more entries this year, being a Good Food Awards Finalist means more than ever before,” says Director Sarah Weiner.  “We look forward to seeing some familiar faces in January, and are also excited to recognize dozens of new companies from parts of the country not always thought of as ‘hotbeds of food culture.’ From Utah distillers making some of the best whiskey in the country to a Vermont farmstead goat milk caramel to a Wisconsin brewery whose winning beer is made with barley, wheat, hops and even yeast 100% grown and processed in-state, this year’s Finalists are a diverse and talented group of innovators. Learning what each producer is doing in their part of the country to build a strong food culture for America has been truly inspiring, and I can’t wait to see them gather together in January.”

Finalists are those entrants that rise to the top in the Blind Tasting and are also able to clearly articulate how they fit the Good Food Awards industry-specific criteria of environmental and social responsibility. Finalists attested to responsible production by detailing their efforts to eliminate or reduce pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, source ingredients locally where possible, implement water and energy conservation, ensure traceability to the farm level, practice good animal husbandry and exercise fair and transparent treatment of workers and suppliers.