Saturday, September 1, 2012

Turtle Cheesecake

What do you do when you see 3 blocks of cream cheese sitting in your fridge and you need to make a dessert? Make cheesecake of course! I love this recipe because although it has a lot of steps, you can make it in a 9 by 13 which makes it even easier.

But seriously, this is divine. A graham cracker crust, cheesecake layer, chocolate layer, caramel layer, and nuts and chocolate on top. Need I say more?

The hardest part of making cheesecake is remembering that between all the steps you can't eat the final product for at least 1 day if not 2. 



Turtle Cheesecake Bars
recipe slightly adapted from Louanne's Kitchen

Makes around 30 decadent pieces

Ingredients

Crust
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (the original recipe uses pecans for the crust thus making it gluten free!!)
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar

Cheesecake Filling
24 oz cream cheese, softened (3 blocks)
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Toppings
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 11-oz bag caramel bits or caramel squares
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4-6 tablespoons milk, divided


Directions


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper, so that parchment extends over the sides of the pan.

In a bowl, mix crust ingredients together with a fork; using hands, press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.  Bake crust for 25 minutes; while crust bakes, prepare filling.

Cream together cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
After crust bakes, remove from oven and immediately sprinkle on 1  cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I did a little more to fully cover the cheesecake layer)

Pour filling over chocolate chips and return to oven; bake for 50 minutes or until set. (It will look puffy and not like cheesecake-it will fall and soften once refrigerated so don't worry that you messed it up!)

Allow cheesecake to cool for about hour, then place in refrigerator to chill overnight.

The next day, remove cheesecake from pan using parchment paper and place on serving platter, then prepare toppings:

Toast pecans in oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees, after 5 minutes if not toasted enough, toast in 2 minute intervals until desired toastiness is achieved-for me, around  7 minutes.

Melt caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl, along with 4 tablespoons milk. (If using Kraft caramel bits, only use 2 tablespoons milk-I used 4 tablespoons milk and that is why my caramel ran over all the sides. It was still delicious but not as pretty!) Microwave in 30 second intervals until caramels have melted and sauce is smooth.

Pour caramel sauce over cheesecake and immediately sprinkle on toasted chopped pecans.

Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, along with 2 tablespoons milk, and microwave in 30 second intervals, about 2 minutes total. 

Stir until smooth and drizzle over caramel-pecan topping.
Allow chocolate and caramel to set before serving-I recommend at least 1 hour in the fridge but could go up to 1 day.

Cut into bars and enjoy!


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