Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

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Okay, so I should have posted this before Shavuos, but I just didn’t get to it. Bookmark this for next Shavuoth: super creamy cheesecake topped with soft caramel sauce and shards of milk chocolate. Kind of like a rolo crossed with cheesecake.

The basis for this was my Turtle Cheesecake, which is the same, but also has chopped pecans mixed into the caramel sauce and has a chocolate glaze instead of chopped chocolate. The chopped chocolate is easier to prepare than the chocolate glaze and is much, much easier to cut through when serving the cheesecake. I explain how to make home-made caramel sauce, but you could just buy caramel sauce or dulce de leche for the topping.

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
For the backstory on the origins of the cheesecake (freely adapted from Nick Malgieri) and the caramel sauce (adapted from Sarah Foster), see the post on my Turtle Cheesecake. Letting the cream cheese come to room temperature is key to this recipe’s success. It is makes it easier to smooth out lumps from cream cheese when the chill has been taken off of it. Also, don’t skimp on the first step of thoroughly beating the cream cheese and sugar. If you don’t get all the lumps out the cream cheese at this stage, it will be impossible later.

Crust:
1 1/3 cups tea biscuit or graham cracker crumbs (4.25 oz.)
1-2 Tbl sugar
5-6 Tbl. melted butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a very well buttered 9″ round foil cake tin. Chill the crust in the freezer while you make the cheesecake filling

Filling:
10-11 ounces cream cheese (10.66 ounces), ROOM TEMPERATURE
2/3 cup sugar
10-11 ounces sour cream (10.66 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the cream cheese and sugar UNTIL THE MIXTURE IS COMPLETELY SMOOTH. This is your one chance to get a smooth, lump free mixture of sugar and cream cheese. Once you add the other ingredients, it will be very hard to get out any remaining lumps, so take your time and make sure the mixture is completely smooth.

Add vanilla and sour cream and mix gently until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing only until combined.

Pour the batter into your crust and pop it into the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the mixture is set on the edges and slightly jiggly in the very center. It will continue to cook as it cools.

The cheesecake can now be refrigerated overnight or even frozen until needed. It needs to be good and chilled in order for you to be able to easily pop in out of the foil tin. When you are reader to garnish and serve the cheesecake, flip the cheesecake out of the pan and onto a serving plate (or a cardboard cake circle).

Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Foster’s Market. If making your own caramel sauce is too much, you could drizzle over store-bought caramel sauce or dulce de leche.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream (if you only have half n half, use a little less and add in some butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla
optional, a pinch or two of salt

Caramelize the sugar in a small saucepan: carefully pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan. Be careful to not get sugar on the sides of the pot. Pour 2 tablespoons of water around the sugar to make a little moat separating the sugar from the edge of the pot. The sugar will soak up the water and get damp. Put a medium high flame under the pot. The water will boil and the sugar will start to melt. At first you will have an opaque sugar slurry. Then, as the sugar melts, the mixture will become clear and start to boil. Don’t stir because this can cause the sugar to crystallize. After a while the foaming will intensify and then the sugar will start to get golden. You can swirl the sugar just a bit to make sure the sugar evenly colors.

You need to have set out the cream next to the pot ahead of time, before the sugar starts to caramelize. When the sugar start to color, it browns very quickly and and you need to add the cream at just the right moment. When the sugar is about the color of a penny, add the cream. Be careful! Sugar gets extremely hot when it caramelizes and the mixture can splatter and foam up. Stand back and add the cream carefully (if you are also using butter, add the butter as well at this point). Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar and cream together. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes to get out any lumps. Off heat, you can add the vanilla and, if you like, a pinch of salt.

Let the sauce cool, but don’t refrigerate it yet. It will thicken as it cools and it can get too hard to spread at refrigerator temperature. (Note: I have noticed that when I make this with half n half, that the caramel is more fluid, even when refrigerated.)

When the sauce is tepid, you can put a layer over the top of the cheesecake.

Chocolate Garnish
3 oz. bar milk chocolate, chopped into thin shards

Garnish top of cheesecake with chopped chocolate.

This freezes well. You can also make the cheesecake ahead of time, freeze it, and then garnish it with caramel sauce and chopped chocolate before serving.

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