BlogHer

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake



So, I have a problem.

I feel like half of my posts start like that. I guess I have a lot of problems.

But this particular problem occurs when I'm starving for dinner and it's still like TEN MINUTES away. What is a girl supposed to do?




Break into the dessert. That's what. I probably shouldn't, because then I don't eat my dinner like a good girl, but it just makes me feel like such a rebel. I'm like, "Hey Mom, guess what I'm eating... CHEESECAKE. Whatcha gonna do?"

And she's just like, "Okay, do whatever you want... if you don't mind being FAT."

Psh. Whatevah.




Maybe I should adopt Boots' form of coping with pre-dinner starvation. He just sticks his [toy] machine gun in my face and growls in a menacing crescendo, "If we don't eat right now, I'm going to start a WAR."

So then we eat.



But you guys know I'm not that amazing at coping.

Well, the day I made this cheesecake, I was coping. I know, you can't even imagine. Because guess what, I dropped my cheesecake on the floor.

On. The. Floor. Whipped cream down. Splat.

At first I was like, "HELP ME! ANYONE! BRING A PAPER TOWEL!" I don't really know how that was supposed to help, but you know how stress brings on brain farts for me. 



But then I was like, "Wait. This is cool. I'm cool. The crust was so sturdy it just made a clean break in half. I swept the floor semi-recently. I already got a piece out to take a picture of for you. We're good. We're good."

So I threw on some more whipped cream and toffee and life went on.

But seriously, how could it not when this baby is a part of it?


First there's a graham cracker and toffee crust with a layer of milk chocolate smeared across it.




I repeat: TOFFEE CRUST. Then a smooth caramel cheesecake with homemade gooey caramel on top mixed with MORE crunchy toffee and then some whipped cream. My aunt says it's even better that The Cheesecake Factory, but I can't verify this as I've never been. I guess you'll have to decide for yourselves.


Okay. I'll go pass out now. And not eat dinner. HA.



Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

Crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs  (about 2 packages crushed graham crackers)
1/2 cup toffee bits (I used the kind of Heath that has some chocolate on it)
pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter (1 cup), melted
1 1/4 chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 300ยบ. Combine everything except the chocolate chips. Press into a springform pan lined with parchment paper. Push all the way up the sides and press in firmly. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Set the springform pan on a baking sheet (just in case it drips). Bake for about five minutes or until the chocolate chips are melty. Smooth them out with an offset spatula. Throw it in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Filling:
3 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup caramel topping (recipe below)
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and caramel and beat well. Add the eggs and beat just 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, but never fear, it shall set in the end. Turn the oven off and open the door about 4 inches, but leave the cheesecake in for about 30 more minutes (this helps the cheesecake to cool more slowly and evenly and prevents cracking). Remove from the oven and cool for about 30 more minutes. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Topping:
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel
1/2 cup toffee bits, plus more for garnish (again, I used the chocolatey heath bits)

Beat the whipping cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form.
Combine the caramel and1/2 cup of toffee. Place small chunks all over the top of the chilled cheesecake and carefully them spread them together (it will be pretty thick, so don't just plop it all on thinking you'll be able to spread it out). Pipe some whipped cream along the edge and garnish with more toffee bits. Slice with a large wetted knife for cleaner slices.

Homemade Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and syrup. Don't leave out the syrup, it helps prevent the caramel from crystallizing. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Once it is caramel colored, add the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add the cream and stir until it's all combined. Bring it back to the heat if you get clumps and stir it until they're dissolved. Store in the refrigerator if not using right away. Makes about 3/4 cup.



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