Caramel Cheesecake
Author: Susan Palmer
Three things for a successful cheesecake. 1)Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. It will make creaming them together much easier and will give you a smooth batter. 2) You need a water bath. The steam created in the oven will prevent any cracks from forming and a light texture. 3) DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. I don't mean to yell, but this is important. Opening the oven door lets the steam escape and you are more like to get a big crack in the center.
Ingredients
For the caramel:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
For the crust:
  • 1 box Walkers Pure Butter Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
  • 2 8oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup caramel
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Cheesecake Topping:
  • ½ cup caramel
  • Walkers Belgian Chocolate Chunk Biscuits
Instructions
For the caramel:
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan over medium-low heat melt the sugar until it begins to caramelize and turn golden brown. It is important you do not walk away from the stove while cooking the sugar, as it can turn from a solid state to burnt instantly.
  2. Once it is fully caramelized remove from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Place the pot back on the heat and stir together. The caramel may seize up, in that case, just cook it out until it is liquid again. Stir in the butter, until melted and add the salt and vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.
For the crust:
  1. Butter or spray your springform pan and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the cookies until they are completely broken down into a fine crumble and add the sugar and melted butter. Pulse a few more times until the mixture is like wet sand.
  3. Dump into the springform pan and press firmly into the bottom and sides, going all the way up to the top of the pan.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes for a nice golden color. Remove to cool.
For the cheesecake:
  1. Lower the temperature of the oven to 325 and bring water to boil in a teakettle.
  2. Take your cooled crust and with a few layers of aluminum foil, wrap the bottom and sides, so no water will leak inside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer or using a hand mixer with a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and brown sugar until light and airy about 3-4 minutes. Then add the sour cream and eggs 1 at a time until well combined.
  4. Scrape down the sides and bottom and with the mixer running, drizzle in the caramel, and then finally the vanilla and pinch of salt.
  5. Scrape everything together again and pour into the prepared pan.
  6. Place the springform pan into a larger pan and put both into the oven. Pour the boiling water into the larger pan so that it reaches about halfway up.
  7. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until the middle no longer jiggles.
  8. Remove and let cool completely (about two hours) before removing from the pan.
  9. To top, drizzle the remaining ½ cup of caramel on the top and decorate with crushed Belgian Chocolate Chunk Biscuits.
  10. Refrigerate before serving.
Recipe by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen at http://girlinthelittleredkitchen.com/2012/12/caramel-cheesecake/