Sophisticated Sugar: Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

CaramelPecanCheesecake

 

I have the most amazing dessert EVER in store for your Valentines weekend! Of all the cheesecake, sweets, and desserts I have ever made this is one I am requested to make over and over again by my family. If the Chocolate Orange Cheesecake from last week didn’t strike you as romantic enough, try this one! You sweetheart will be pudding in your hands.

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Crust:
2 cups gluten-free cookie or cracker crumbs (you can always use non gluten-free too, shortbread cookies work well here)
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Caramel Pecan Layer:
11 oz caramel
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Chocolate Cheesecake:
2 pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
8 oz Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and pour into the cheesecake pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and one inch up the sides. You can use the underside of a cup or a measuring cup with a flat bottom so that the crust is well pressed and smooth. Bake crust for 8 minutes.

Once the crust comes out, toast the pecans by placing the nuts out on a flat cooking sheet and cooking for a couple minutes, just until you can smell them when you open the oven door. Remove from oven and place on a plate to cool. Melt the caramel with evaporated in a large bowl (the caramel will tend to boil up when it gets hot so ┬ámake sure to use a large bowl). Make sure the caramel and milk are well blended – it may take some stirring but keep going, the two will combine. Pour the caramel directly on top of the baked crust and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Set aside

Now for the chocolate cheesecake! Mix cream cheese and sugar until very smooth. Add eggs and beat. Slowly add melted chocolate and beat until uniform in color. The batter is thick enough it won’t spread well if you just dump it all in the center. Instead spoon large scoops of the batter on top of the caramel mixture and then gently spread. Return to oven.

*Note: ALWAYS place cheesecake pan directly on a cookie sheet or other flat pan (this is in case the cheesecake leaks the bottom of your oven won’t get all nasty). Also, ALWAYS place a 9×13 pan, 2/3 full of water on the rack directly below the cheesecake. This prevents the cheesecake from cooking too quickly or from drying out.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Allow cheesecake to cool for 1-2 hours on the counter and run a knife around the outside before wrapping and placing int he refrigerator. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours before serving. (Although, if you place it in the freezer, it won’t need that long. More like 3-4 hours.)

Want to try this one? Let me know what you think!

Sophisticated Sugar: Cashew Turtles

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I know you’ve been waiting for days. And, now, here it is! The scrumptious, deliciously good Sophisticated Sugar Holiday Special: Cashew Turtles.

 

I say, BRING IT ON!

 

Cashew Turtles

11 oz. Caramel
1 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 cup cashew pieces
15 oz Chocolate (make sure you use a compound chocolate which can melt and set up again)
Chocolate Mold

Place caramel, milk, and butter in a large bowl and melt either in microwave or over a stove top. Make sure to stir frequently and not melt it at too high a heat as it burns easily. If the caramel melts, but the milk and butter aren’t mixing in don’t worry. Just keep stirring and it’ll all come together soon.

Melt chocolate – same as above, do it either in the microwave or on the stove just be careful not to burn it.

Coat the inside of chocolate mold with a thin layer of chocolate and let it set up in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes. Scoop a small amount of melted caramel into the chocolate covered mold, just make sure you stir the caramel right before using it since the cashews will slowly float to the top. Top the caramel with just enough chocolate to cover and seal the chocolate. Place in freezer and allow to harden for several minutes. Pull the mold out, turn it over and pop out the good stuff!