Monday, January 10, 2011

Salted Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

I mentioned in my Top Ten of 2010 that I loved, loved, loved the salted honey cream caramels I first made last winter. Since then, I am a sucker for any salty/sweet combination and knew when I saw this recipe on Handle the Heat, I would have to make them. And soon.

This recipe did not disappoint and is one of the best recipes I have tried recently. The individual components are easy to put together but it does take a little time. Graham crackers are ground up and then combined with sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter to make a base for the cheesecake. I always use light cream cheese because it is one lower fat ingredient that I can't tell a discernable difference between the reduced fat and full fat versions. Three blocks of cream cheese are mixed with eggs, sugar, and vanilla, and then a hearty scoop of canned dulce de leche. I suppose one could make their own dulce de leche, but the canned variety is pretty darn good! The caramel tinted cheesecake is baked and then covered in a glaze of dulce de leche thinned with some heavy cream. The finishing, and in my opinion most important, touch is a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

These bars are less fussy than a traditional cheesecake without sacrificing any of the decadence. I can see this becoming a regular treat around here! Give 'em a try and let me know what you think!

Notes: I used one can of dulce de leche and just eyeballed the amounts for the cheesecake and glaze. The flavor of these bars is better appreciated if you allow them to sit out for just a few minutes before serving.

Salted Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
Makes 24 bars
From Bon Appetit Magazine June 2010

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers (from about 17 whole graham crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche
3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
Fleur de Sel

*A thick, sweet sauce made from caramelized sugar in milk or from sweetened condensed milk; available at some supermarkets and specialty foods stores and at Latin markets.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

2. Blend cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

3. Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill.

4. Cut cheesecake lengthwise with a sharp knife or scraper into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. For cleaner squares, dip knife in hot water then wipe off excess water before each cut. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.
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  1. These look so delicious. Such great flavors!

  2. Oh my goodness, these look delicious!!! I am putting these on my to-bake list. Definitely something my husband would love!

  3. I have to make these SOON!!! YUM they sound dEvine!!!lol

  4. Yes, the nerds at work LOOOOOVED them all up.

  5. These look delicious! I especially like the shortcut of using canned dulce de leche. Yum!


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