Sunday, March 4, 2012
A Little Bit Salty, A Little Bit Sweet
I always get asked the same question over and over again - "what do you with all your baking?" Well, I usually bake on Saturdays so my husband and I have something for dessert that night. Anything we don't eat either goes to friends on Sundays, or my co-workers on Mondays. But not this week. Not with these Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars!
Why? Because my husband wouldn't let me give them away that's why! They were THAT good! Seriously.
There's nothing better than the sweet and slightly salty taste of these delicious little bars. With a graham cracker base, dulce de leche cheesecake middle and a gooey caramel glaze with a light sprinkling of fleur de sel, these bars will satisfy any craving you throw at it. Even the kind where you want to eat everything in sight because you've had a really crap day and nothing you do seems to make it any better. These will! Ok - I can't make any guarantees, but if you have enough will power not to eat the whole pan and decide to share them instead, you can definitely make some new friends that will help cheer you up!
These cheesecake bars couldn't be easier to make. And as they say here in the UK "they're a doddle." (I had to hear that a few times before I understood what the heck people were talking about. I didn't know if it was good thing or a bad thing!)
Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
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 Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (225g) sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup dulce de leche
2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
10 caramel chews
Fleur de sel*
1. Preheat 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.
2. Blend the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs 1 at a time, blending for 3 to 5 seconds each time until incorporated. Add in the dulce de leche 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, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.
3. Once the cheesecake bar is cooled, pour 2/3 cup dulce de leche sauce and a the 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 just melted. Quickly dump the melted caramel chews into the dulce de leche mixture and stir continuously until combined. 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.
4. Lastly - (and this is the best part!) when you're ready to serve the bars sprinkle the caramel glaze lightly with some fleur de sel.
*Fleur de sel is a light and flaky sea salt, with a less salty and bitter taste than regular table or sea salt.
The sweetness of the caramel along with the tang from the cream cheese and the saltiness from the fleur de sel make this bar a little slice of heaven. But don't take my word for it. Go make your own!