Posted on | January 3, 2013 | No Comments
I wanted to make a special dessert for New Years this year. We had plans to go to a party, but it fell through because the host got sick with the crud that’s been going around everywhere lately. We decided to make the most of it though, and pig out before we started our new years diets. I made homemade chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and cream gravy. For dessert, I made this cheesecake. My husband is a sucker for anything with Heath bar in it, so I figured he would like this cake. How can you go wrong with cheesecake, homemade caramel, and chocolate? It turned out super rich and delicious and we really liked it a lot. The recipe has a lot of steps, but is really easy to put together. I’d never made homemade caramel sauce before, but it was really easy too. I saved the leftovers for the kids to eat with apple slices. If you don’t want to make your own caramel sauce, you can just use store-bought caramel ice cream topping. You can use either semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips for this recipe, depending on your preference. I used a mixture of both (about half of each).
Carmel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake
For the crust:
3 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 2 packages crushed graham crackers)
1/2 c. toffee bits
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks), melted
1 1/4 c. chocolate chips
For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
1/4 c. caramel sauce
4 eggs, slightly beaten
For the caramel
1 c. granulated sugar
6 T. butter
1/2 c. whipping cream
pinch of salt
For the topping:
1 c. whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. toffee bits, plus more for garnish
For the caramel sauce, stir the sugar over medium high heat with a spatula until it melts. While it is melting, it will clump up, but keep stirring and it will all eventually melt. Once sugar is melted, attach a candy thermometer and cook the sugar, swirling the pan occasionally, until it reaches 350 degrees. When it reaches 350 degrees, immediately remove from heat and add the butter. The caramel will boil and sputter violently. Continue to stir until butter is incorporated. Stir in the cream. The caramel will bubble up again. Once the cream is incorporated and the caramel is smooth, stir in the salt and set aside or refrigerate to cool while you prepare the cheesecake.
For the crust, preheat the oven to 325º. Combine everything except the chocolate chips in a large bowl. Press crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan. Push all the way up the sides and press in firmly using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Set the springform pan on a baking sheet. Bake for about five minutes or until the chocolate chips begin to melt. Smooth them out with an offset spatula. Put pan in the freezer to chill while you prepare filling.
For the filling; in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and caramel sauce, and mix on medium speed for another minute. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs, and mix until combined. Pour into chilled crust. Wrap the springform pan with a couple of wet dishtowels (this helps the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly). Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The center will still be jiggly. Turn the oven off and prop the door open and let the cake cool in the oven for 30 minutes. This will allow the cake to cool gradually and prevent the top from cracking. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack on the counter for an additional 30 minutes before placing in refrigerator. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
To top the cheesecake; in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, and continue whipping on high until stiff peaks form.
Place the chocolate chips in a zip-top bag and microwave in 15 second increments until they are completely melted. Cut off a small corner of the bag and drizzle chocolate over the top of the cheesecake. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Pipe some whipped cream along the edge and garnish with more toffee bits or caramel drizzle.
Source: adapted from Tide and Thyme