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.
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
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
2/3 cup caramel
2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
10 caramel chews
Sea Salt (I recommend the kind used on candy – bigger grain)
- 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
- 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
- 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.