Did You Know? Milton Hershey did not initiate his chocolate empire with chocolate, but with caramel. The chocolate took off in his search for new coatings and toppings for his caramel candies.
It was my best friend's 22nd birthday the other week, so I knew I had to make something sweet and special to celebrate the occasion. She always goes above and beyond for me, so I really wanted to make something she would love. I remembered bringing her home dulce de leche cheesecake one year from The Cheesecake Factory, and how she completely loved every bite of it. She had never ordered that flavor, and it quickly became her new favorite. Upon remembering all of this, I knew I had to start my quest for the dulce de leche cheesecake recipe, or something very close to it.
I was surprised at how few caramel cheesecake recipes came up when I Googled it. There was an overload of caramel apple cheesecake recipes, but only a few plain old caramel ones. I noticed that Tarah, from Genesis of a Cook, had one posted, so I clicked on hers first, mainly because I like to support blogs I read, but also because all of her recipes are really amazing. "I remember the first cheesecake I ever had was a Caramel Cheesecake...at the Cheesecake Factory..." was how she started out, and I knew from there this was the recipe for me.
Although my camera doesn't like when I cook or bake at night, I love it, so I made this cheesecake a couple nights before the big day (I think the flavors develop so nicely when made a couple days in advance). I've made a lot of cheesecakes in the past, but none with my new Kitchen Aid, so I was really excited. I don't know if it's my undying love of this new mixer, but somehow it makes baking a whole lot easier.
As for the cheesecake? I think it stole the show. Sorry Britt, but it was too good. Smooth, rich, and sweet, this cake was definately the crowd favorite. Blanketed by a layer of silky caramel, and flecked with buttery pieces of toffee, I don't think you could ask much more from a dessert.
So as you might have guessed, the cheesecake provided us with a solid stomach to combat our long night of bar hopping with. All in all, a perfect 22nd birthday if you ask me. Until next year...
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 lbs. cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toffee pieces
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tbsp. of sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For the filling, mix the cream cheese and sugar with a paddle attachment on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the flour on low speed. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and the bottom after each egg. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Fold in the toffee pieces.
Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of the spring form pan, then pour the filling over the crust. Bake in a water batch for approximately 1 1/2 hours. A knife inserted should come out clean when cake is done. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Don't remove the aluminum foil until you are ready to serve, and top with the caramel sauce.
Heat sugar on high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2 quart sauce pan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir constantly with a whisk. As soon as the sugar crystals begin to melt (should be dark amber in color), add the butter to the pan (if you don't do this immediately, the caramel will taste burnt). Continue to whisk until butter has melted.
Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then pour over the cheesecake. You'll have a good amount, which you can serve alongside, or save for ice cream later on. Just microwave any extra caramel for a few seconds to loosen it up again (after being refrigerated).
Try your luck at a few awesome giveaways from around the web:
Oh She Glows is having another Honest Foods Giveaway (ends today)
All About Cakes is giving away a Cake Decorating Set (ends the 30th)
Veggie Belly is giving away your choice of Malbec Jam or Dulce de Leche (ends the 24th)