Caramel Cheesecake Bars
The easy cheesy way out for the cheesecake challenged

Are you cheesecake challenged? Do you ever read through the steps in a great looking cheesecake recipe and say..."yeah, that's not going to happen."? If so, this Caramel Cheesecake Bars recipe was made for you.

Then you'll really appreciate the Queen in the Kitchen version of caramel cheesecake. No cracks, no special pans, no wondering if it's done in the middle. And no water baths, either.

It's a very rich dessert, a little goes a long way. You'll notice an unusual ingredient. Salt. The sprinkle of Kosher salt balances that oh so rich taste and brings out the deeper flavors that sweetness may hide.

Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Crust:  20 graham crackers or 30 gingerdoodles

1/4 cup ground pecans or walnuts, optional

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

8 tablespoons cold butter

Filling:   3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup dulce de leche*

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze:  3/4 cup dulce de leche

1-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Covering bottom with parchment paper will help with easy removal of the bars.

For crust: Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a fine crumb. Add optional ground nuts, brown sugar, and butter. Pulse 5-6 times until grainy. Press the mixture into the pan with fingers until bottom is evenly coated with crust. Bake 10 minutes until light golden. Remove from oven to cool completely on rack.

2. For filling: Place cream cheese and sugar in the workbowl of a food processor or a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth and creamy. Add eggs 1 at a time, blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; blend well. Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust. Bake 40 minutes, until the center does not wiggle when the pan is shaken and edges begin to brown. Remove to cooling rack.

3. For glaze: Heat dulce de leche and 1 tablespoon cream 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).

4. Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake bars; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour

Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. Sprinkle bars with kosher salt

*dulce de leche is a thick caramel cream found in most supermarkets. Look in the Spanish foods or near the peanut butter sections. Caramel ice cream topping may be substituted, but it does not have the deep rich flavor of true dulce de leche.

makes 24 servings ~ can make ahead
active time: 20 minutes ~ cooking time: 1 hour

Photo credit: Jose Picayo

Cooking for The King by Renee Chernin
The book of Torah insights, recipes and practical tips
designed to bring majesty to the mundane.