Saturday, May 29, 2010

Caramel Cheesecake

Birthday #2 that I baked for was my brother's. My brother has never been a sweets kind of guy (which is funny being as my dad and myself have huge sweet teeth), he never really eats cake or cookies which is why I bake in such small batches; because it's only myself and my dad eating them. But one thing that my brother does like is cheesecake. So when I asked him what I could make him for his birthday, he requested the same thing that he did last year: caramel cheesecake. I was really happy because I've been wanting to make a cheesecake again for a while now, and because he requested the same kind of cheesecake last year, I knew I already had a great recipe that wouldn't disappoint.

For this recipe, I actually did something that I NEVER do, and that's take a recipe that didn't have any reviews for it and also from a site that I've never visited before. That's nearly taboo for me to do. I never try a recipe that doesn't have any reviews at all for it because I don't know if it's reliable or not and I hate the very rare occasions when I have to throw something out because it didn't turn out well. But the recipe sounded good and I put my faith in it, and thankfully, I'm very glad I did! This cheesecake is absolutely delicious with not only brown sugar adding to the caramel flavor, but also with a homemade caramel sauce swirled right in. I serve mine with extra homemade caramel sauce, but in actuality, it doesn't even really need it. The cheesecake is delicious on it's own.

Also, I've added a new recipe archive page to my blog that holds every single recipe and links to each individual recipe blog page for easy access. I realize the Blog Archive tab does somewhat sort of the same thing, but my recipe archive also sorts the recipes by type of dessert, making it even easier. Huzzah!

Rich Caramel Cheesecake (from That's My Home)
Makes 1 10-inch cheesecake

For the crust:
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used vanilla wafers)
For the caramel:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the filling:
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  1. Make the crust: Combine the butter and crumbs in a medium bowl, mixing with a fork. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. (Keep in mind that this is only enough for a thin crust on the bottom only. If you'd like your crust to go up the sides as well, double the recipe.)
  2. Make the caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well. Cover with a lid and cook until the sugar turns a medium amber color, about 3 1/2 minutes after the mixture comes to a boil. Use a wet pastry brush every once in a while to brush down any sugar that starts to crystallize on the sides. (After the sugar starts to boil, do not stir it anymore. Simply swirl the pan to mix. Once the sugar starts turning color, I'd suggest to just take the lid off and swirl almost constantly until it reaches the desired color. Remember to watch it like a hawk!!)
  3. Remove from the heat and stir for 30 seconds. Slowly stir in the cream using a long, wooden spatula, being careful to avoid splatters. The caramel will hiss and bubble furiously when the cream hits it. (Also, it will let off a ton of hot steam, so be careful!) If the sugar begins to crystallize or harden in the bottom of the pan, return the pan to the heat and stir constantly until the caramel becomes smooth. Set aside.
  4. (Now is the time when you want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.) Make the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese and both sugars at medium speed using an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl when necessary.
  5. Add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on the lowest speed of the mixer until just incorporated.
  6. Scrape down the bowl once more and mix again just until everything is fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Pour two-thirds of the batter over the crust. Beat the caramel sauce into the remaining one-third of batter. Pour the caramel batter over the plain batter and swirl mixtures using a rubber spatula.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes (I baked mine for 55 and I would suggest baking for at least this amount, or even up to 60 minutes), or until the edges are firm but the middle still wiggles. Remove from the oven and cool. Chill. (I cooled mine at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remember to chill your cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.)
* If you'd like to serve your cheesecake with extra caramel sauce, simply make the recipe for the caramel sauce above again, or double the recipe to make at the same time. If you double it, just remember to use half in the cheesecake batter and save half for serving.

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