Sugar cookie base. Layer of caramel. Layer of cheesecake. Optional caramel garnish. Thank you, and good night!
Actually, we’re back, that was just a fake exit. Of course you want to hear more about this confection, right? (They kept referring to this dessert as a confection in the directions, which made us giggle. Though the term is adequately descriptive, it sounded a little pretentious. I guess pretentiousness makes us giggle?) Right! It’s purty darn good stuff. See more below.
I thought to myself at one point, “Self? Are you really going to spend this long on a cheesecake-esque dessert and not just go ahead and make an all-out cheesecake?”
Then I realized that this is a completely awesome, and acceptable within the Great Cheesecake Circle of Life, way to get your cheesecake the same day you start it. Most recipes require an overnight chill after all. This time, clear out space in your freezer to chill this one in about two or so hours. You don’t need most of that stuff in your freezer anyway. It had, uuhhh, been a while since I’d cleaned it out, so thanks, cheesecake!
The base for this cheesecake, ahem, confection, is a sugar cookie recipe that you pat pat pat into place.
I’m not a fan of making caramel from scratch, so this recipe was perfect for me. It’s canned caramel. And it is absolutely de to the lish.
Here we have a basic cheesecake batter…but let’s face it. Even a basic cheesecake batter is miles above most things, yes? You’re damn straight.
After baking this big mama of a dessert (it’s baked in a 9×13 – YAY), cooling it (mostly) and freezing it (for about two measly short hours), this sucker is ready to be devoured. Gentlemen, start your war drums, for this is serious biz.
We sliced it how we pleased, and it pleased us to slice it like so, above. With a knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean (works great but you really MUST do this for each cut), cut the cheesecake in half along the shortest length, then halve those pieces and make individual slices. Or you can cut it into squares, triangles, however the heck you want. Just cut it and get to enjoying.
If you’re going with the optional piped caramel on top, these would be lots of fun for the kids to finish up. This is also a really easy cheesecake recipe to make and a great one if you’re needing to transport it to a party or office. They’re easy to pick up, oh so tasty and a total win any way you look at it.
Caramel Cheesecake Bites
from Gourmet, December 2011 via Epicurious
Prep Time: 15 -20 minutes Cook time: about 1 hour 10 minutes Chill time: about 2 1/2 hours Level: Easy Makes: a lot
For the sugar cookie crust:
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the cheesecake:
- 20 ounces jarred or canned dulce de leche at room temperature (found in most Hispanic aisles at the grocery store or where condensed milk is shelved)
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line a 13- by 9-inch inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang at both ends, and lightly butter.
To make the sugar cookie crust: Beat together butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 with a handheld. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour. Press dough evenly into bottom of pan. Use the flat bottom of a metal cup measure or a glass to compact and press the dough into as even a layer as possible.
Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack, and keep oven on.
Stir dulce de leche well, then spread 1 1/4 cups of it—there will be some left over—evenly over cookie base with offset spatula and quick-chill in freezer or chill in refrigerator until cold.
Slowly beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well on medium-low speed after each addition, then mix in vanilla.
Spoon cream cheese mixture over dulce de leche. Bake until cheesecake is puffed and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool completely in pan on a rack, then chill until cold, about 3 hours.
With aid of foil overhang, lift cheesecake confection from pan.
Dip a long sharp knife in a tall glass of hot water and quickly wipe it off, then trim edges of confection (save scraps for snacking). Continuing to dip knife in hot water and wiping it off before every cut, cut cheesecake lengthwise into 8 strips, then crosswise into 4 sections, to form 32 finger-shaped bites.
Just before serving, if desired, arrange bites on a large rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet, spacing them apart. Put about 2/3 cup dulce de leche in disposable pastry bag, then snip off a tiny opening. Drizzle the dulce de leche in a diagonal pattern over the bites, letting it drape down the sides.
Cheesecake bites—without the final dulce de leche drizzle—keep chilled in an airtight container in single layers, separated by wax paper 5 days. Drizzle with the optional dulce de leche garnish just before serving.
You just gotta love a recipe that encourages snacking while making it.
We thought this recipe was really easy. Yes, it takes a few hours to make, BUT that’s yummy cheesecake ready in less than one day. Most take two days. It’s the waiting time while chilling and cooling that makes it seem longer and therefore difficult. It’s not at all. Read a book, enjoy the weather outside or make a fire in your fireplace and chill out yourself. I love recipes like this that give me a little down time.
Ours didn’t need quite three hours for the cheesecake portion to chill enough to cut. Just check it occasionally to see if it’s ready.
Our canned caramel (which you don’t see in the ingredient shot – that was canned condensed milk that I got by mistake; sis had to go to the store – doh!) was sooper thick, but this made it easier to spread onto the cookie crust than we expected, so, winning. Where it got a little harder to use was the optional garnish. It burst the dang pastry bags we had. We popped the caramel in a regular freezer bag with the corner barely snipped off. This worked great.