Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Late again…I swear I will get back to my regular rhythm this weekend.  Maybe if I keep telling myself that it will happen?  I decided to abandon the messy kitchen, or making lunches for the girls tomorrow just to post this entry.  I figured if I didn’t do it now, it would never get done, so here it goes.  Don’t worry, they will have lunch to eat at school, it just might be very late before I get to it…

Have you ever noticed that food always tastes more delicious when it is free?  It always amazes me that when I take the girls to CostCo, they eat everything – every little sample that they give out – and they love every bite.  As soon as I buy it and serve it to them at home, they won’t eat it.  I have learned my lesson – they can eat whatever they want when we go there, but I never buy anything I wasn’t planning to buy before I entered the store.  I have to admit, at work – when there is food lying around in the kitchen, it really doesn’t matter what it happens to be, I will eat it.  Yes, because it is free.

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit a long time ago.  This was one of those recipes that sat in my pantry for months upon months, waiting for me to find the right time to make them.  As I have mentioned before, only half of my family loves cheesecake, and this is an expensive recipe to make unless you are planning to eat the whole thing.  I wanted to make sure I brought it somewhere it would be eaten.  So – I brought it to our block party.  I have to admit they were pretty awesome - cheesecake and caramel, two tastes that belong together. They were gone pretty quickly, so I think everyone else felt the same way – but then again, they were free…

Ingredients

Crust

  • 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

Filling

  • 3 8-ounce packages  Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup purchased dulce de  leche*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla  extract

Glaze

  • 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.

Preparation

Crust

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.

Filling

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.

Glaze

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.

Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6  strips, forming 24 bars. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

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