It was a mere 5 days ago that I posted the most decadent, indulgent Nutella Cheesecake Bars. Now, a person with even an ounce of self control would wait several weeks before even thinking of baking more cheesecake. Even a solid week would be a respectable amount of time. But I am not that person. I could not wait a full week.
There is something about salted caramel, it makes me weak in the knees. If I see a recipe containing salted caramel, I probably will not be able to stop thinking about it until I’ve made it. I really can not believe that I tried it for the first time just a few months ago!
These cheesecake bars are a winner in my book because I love cheesecake and I love salted caramel. Plus they gave Kara and me an excuse to try Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce which we’ve heard plenty of good things about. The Caramel Sauce was…in one word…amazing. Of course you could make your own caramel sauce, but why bother?
For the Crust:
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Cheesecake Filling:
½ cup caramel sauce (we used store bought)
1 ½ lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a 13×9 baking dish with foil, leaving an overhang so you can lift the bars out after they’ve baked. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the flour until just incorporated – the mixture will be soft, that’s fine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool completely. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. Transfer 2 tablespoons of this batter to a ½ cup of caramel sauce and stir to incorporate. Pour the remaining cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and spread evenly.
Dollop the caramel sauce mixture over the cheesecake filling (I didn’t use all of the caramel sauce). Use a toothpick to gently marble the caramel but be careful not to scrape the crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are puffed and the center is just barely set.
Transfer baking dish to a cooling rack and let come to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably 24 hours. Use the foil sling to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares with a long sharp knife. The bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures