All things taste better drenched in salted caramel sauce… at least sweet things that is! While this cheesecake was freaking great on its own, the salted caramel just took the experience to a whole different dimension.
Every year when a certain friend of ours with an insatiable sweet tooth comes to visit we always make her a birthday dessert. Every year she asks for croquembouche and this year I finally said yes to making it. I had started my research and was nearly ready to begin baking when I received a call from our friend letting me off the hook. While I think she was feeling guilty for getting me to agree to make a laborious, traditional french wedding cake for her amusement…er, enjoyment, she claims that what she was really craving was cheesecake… cheesecake and caramel sauce! Two of my favorite sweet things ever. I couldn’t deny my friend what she really wanted, could I? So here we have it. Plain decedent cheesecake topped with gooey salted caramel sauce.
For the filling
3 (8oz) packages of Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp good vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
For the crust:
about 1/2 a box of Nilla wafers
1 stick (1/2 cup)unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the crust: In a food processor, blend the Nilla wafers until finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredient for the crust. Pulse the food processor until all ingredients are fully incorporated and small clumps appear.
Pour the cookie mixture into a 9-inch spring form pan. Evenly spread the crumb mixture around the pan then, using a flat bottomed measuring cup or glass, firmly press down on the mixture working all the way around the pan and up the sides to create an evenly thick crust.
Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until crust begins to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for half an hour before adding filling to the crust.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Make sure the highest rake is positioned in the middle of the oven.
While the crust is cooling, make the filling: Add the softened cream cheese to a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the cream cheese with an electric beater or stand mixer at medium speed until nice and workable, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat at medium until fully creamed together, another 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Once the crust has cooled, pour in the filling and spread evenly through out the crust using a rubber spatula.
Place the cheesecake into a large roasting pan. Add enough water to the roasting pan to go halfway up the side of the spring form pan to create a water bath , being careful not to pour water into the cheesecake itself! Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until completely set.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven and the spring form pan from the roasting pan. Allow the cheesecake to cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerate and chill for at least 12 hours before serving. Goes great with salted caramel sauce. Enjoy!
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
Add the sugar, salt, and water to a 2 quart or larger non-stick sauce pan. Place the pan over medium heat. Stir the mixture continuously until nearly all of the sugar has dissolved into the water to create a nearly clear solution.
Raise the heat to high. Boil the sugar and water mixture over high heat until it reaches a solid shade of amber swirling the pan occasionally. Do not stir the mixture while it's boiling. Do not try to touch the mixture. Some of the worst burns involve boiling sugar. This process will take a while, 10-15 minutes maybe, but do not walk away from the boiling sugar. Once the color starts to change it doesn't take long to go from deep amber to burnt nasty sugar.
Once the deep amber color has been achieved remove the pan immediately from the heat and turn off the burner. Add the heavy cream to the pan. Be careful because the mixture will violently bubble up. Once the caramel has finished bubbling, place the pan back onto the turned off but still hot burner. Stir continuously with either a rubber spatula until all of the caramel has dissolved into the cream. While stirring make sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan so that all of the hiding caramel is incorporated.
Allow the caramel to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating or transferring to a different container. If making in advance, allow the caramel to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. I like to put all of my caramel sauce into squeeze bottles for easy application in the future. Caramel sauce can last, refrigerated for a couple of weeks. Before using, either warm the sauce or allow it to come to room temperature. Enjoy (thoroughly)!