Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

I made a salted caramel cheesecake with a chocolate crust for Christmas this year.  I made it because I was scrolling through Pinterest, and kept seeing salted caramel everything and a recurring cheesecake that looked amazing.  Something in me snapped and I knew that if I didn't have a salted caramel cheesecake I might not make it to the new year.  It's a good thing I did, because here it is 2012 and I don't know how my family would survive without me to do things like complain that they're too loud all the time or get onto Chad for playing crude video games during waking hours.  It's a conundrum... one we thankfully avoided this time.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

2 cups chocolate animal crackers, finely ground.  You can use any kind of plain chocolate cookie here, but the animal crackers worked out really well
1/4 cup melted butter

Cheesecake (adapted from this cheesecake)
1 pound (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400. In a food processor, pulse cookie crumbs with melted butter until sticky.  Press into the bottom of a springform pan or bottom and sides of a glass pie plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let rest in the fridge until ready to bake cheesecake.

Turn oven down to 325. Fill a kettle or saucepan with water and bring to a boil on stovetop. Beat cream cheese and sugar on high about 5 minutes. Beat in salt and vanilla.  Mix in eggs one at a time.Slowly beat in cream, adding gradually, until very creamy. Pour batter over crust.  Fill a 9x13 pan with the boiling water and place on bottom oven rack.  Place cheesecake on upper rack.Bake 50-60 minutes, until middle isn't liquid jiggly and the edges and top are golden. Turn off oven, prop the door open slightly, and let the cheesecake rest for another 45 minutes.  Remove and set on baking dish in freezer.  For the caramel, you can either use the prepackaged caramels, make your own caramel, or use the caramel from  this recipe, which is what I did.  The only difference... at the end, add in 1 tsp coarse sea salt.  Pour about 3/4 cup of the slightly cooled caramel over the top of the cheesecake and return to freezer for 45 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  When serving, sprinkle about 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt over the slice of cheesecake.  So delicious!

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