Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

I made these cheesecake squares for a birthday party a few weeks ago. I don’t like showing up to a party empty-handed. Cake makes perfect conversation-starters, especially if you're shy around a new group of people and love being showered with compliments. Besides, who doesn’t like to celebrate their birthday with a little sweet treat? 

These bars are delicately sweet, the filling is velvety smooth and rich, it sits on top a thick graham cracker crust flavoured with a hint of cinnamon. I prefer cheesecake with a thicker crust for some textural contract to the cream cheese and these seal the deal. Also, you might have noticed the flaky sea salt, everyone at the party loved it. The combination of salty and sweet never gets old. Happy December!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
From Bon Appetit

I prefer a thick crust for my cheesecakes, so I used a square baking pan which made 16 thick squares. If you prefer thinner cheesecakes, you can follow the original recipe which uses a 13x9x2-inch baking pan and you can cut it into more pieces. I'll leave it up to which pan you prefer to use. These can be made 2 days ahead, covered and chilled.


For the crust
2 1/4 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 17 whole graham crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling
3 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze

2/3 cup dulce de leche
3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
Flaky sea salt

To make the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a square baking pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. 

Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

For the filling, blend cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. 

Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. 

Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

For the glaze, add dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat 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). 

Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). Cut cheesecake evenly into squares and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. It helps to rinse the knife with hot water and wipe clean before each slice to ensure a clean cut (I get awfully lazy and don't always do this, but it's a good tip!).

Recipe here!

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