Friday, March 25, 2011

Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake

This is the cheesecake I made for the teacher appreciation luncheon at Ben's school. I had a hard time choosing a dessert, but I thought that cheesecake and chocolate would be a safe bet. Several people said this was an all-time favorite, so I highly recommend it for when you want a dessert to impress.

The original recipe from Epicurious had a gingersnap crust, but I replaced it with a chocolate graham cracker crust. The caramel sauce from the original recipe looked awfully fussy, so I used a fantastic one from Kittencal, a prolific poster on - I only changed it by adding a pinch of salt. The caramel sauce would be excellent on ice cream or apple crisp. It does get a little grainy when chilled, so let the cheesecake come to room temperature or heat the sauce if you are using it separately.

The cheesecake itself is not very sweet - I wouldn't serve it alone - but it's a good foil for the very sweet topping. The instructions call for a water bath, but I didn't use one. I just put a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups ground chocolate graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies (about 7 1/4 ounces)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Combine ground chocolate graham crackers in a bowl with melted butter and brown sugar. Combine until crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom of springform pan and bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is slightly darkened. Cool.

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in butter, then eggs, 1 at a time, until just blended. Beat in vanilla.

Wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Pour batter over crust in pan. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cake uncovered until filling is puffed around edges and moves slightly in center when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove pan from water; remove foil. Place hot cheesecake uncovered in refrigerator overnight.


4 1.4 oz. Heath bars chopped

For caramel:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Pinch of salt


1. In a small saucepan melt butter.
2. Add the brown sugar; whisk until combined and thickened (about 2 minutes).
3. Whisk in the whipping cream, until thoroughly blended (2 more minutes).
4. Mix in vanilla (if using) until combined.
5. NOTE: this sauce will thicken up more when refrigerated.

Let caramel come to room temperature. Spoon caramel over top of cake just to edges (do not allow to drip down sides). Garnish top edges with chopped Heath bars. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides.

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