Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Chocolate Carmel Cheesecake
I don't know about you but I need a good laugh today! I've been on Facebook this today and they changed up a whole lotta stuff! I can't find my friends... Shoot...I can't even find myself on there! All this confusion (yes, I'm confused! I am so NOT good on computers!)...confusion and frustration...I NEED a good laugh! Whenever I need to laugh I remind myself of a story from this summer. This summer the Princess and the Warrior took swimming lessons and by the way they Rocked! The Warrior is a total athletic rock star! He's four and can swim in the deep end of the pool by himself! That's not the funny part. One day after swim lessons my little warrior said "mom, did you know my swim teachers name is Yoo-Hoo?" I thought that was an odd name, but responded "Really?". He Said "ya, because whenever I need help I say 'Yoo-Hoo, I need help!'" What a little comedian. Where he came up with that, I have no idea! I remind myself over and over of that story and the more I say it, the harder I laugh! Oh, I feel better! Facebook who? Ha!
If you have time, keep reading, we'll be talking about cheesecake! If not, then just look at the pictures and then come back later!
Ok, cheesecake! I'm going to be honest with you, I have never been one of those "I would die for cheesecake" kind if girls. Sure cheesecake is good, but there are a hundred other desserts I'd choose over cheesecake. Until now! I had this dessert in mind when we had some special guests over for dinner. They are a family that I really respect as well as laugh a ton with! Super neat family! I had to make this good! Ok, but back to the cheesecake. So, I'm not a huge Cheesecake lover but I do have an outstanding Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that is "Out Of This World" and is a frequently requested dish over the holidays (I promise to share soon). I knew that if I could come up with just the right combination, it could create one rockn' dessert. I started out with making an Oreo crust. Ok, so I didn't have real Oreo's on hand but the all natural Trader Joe's version and I don't what in the world happened, but they were a total BOMB! NOT the bomb but A bomb! A disaster! I should have taken a picture! So, I started over...this time with an original Graham Cracker Crust. Next ingredient... caramel. Carmel whispers fall to me, so I wanted to incorporate a layer of creamy caramel...I just wasn't sure where yet. Chocolate cheesecake? No, basic cream cheese base...no sour cream or anything, just the good original stuff! Then I thought about a rich chocolate ganache topping. Perfect! All the elements of a rich, delicate, luxurious dessert! I WILL make this again! And I will NOT change a thing! It came out absolutely perfect! It didn't even sink or crack...look! YAY!
See the chocolate and carmel oozing....yummy! I think they'll be back! :)
Chocolate Carmel Cheesecake AKA the Best Cheesecake I have ever had in my whole life!
2 1/2 cups Graham Cracker crumbs (13 whole crackers)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar (for crust)
1 pkg caramels, unwrapped
1-5oz can evaporated milk
3-8oz pkg cream cheese, room temp
3 eggs, room temp
3/4 cup sugar (for cheesecake filling)
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbl butter
Heat oven to 350. Combine graham cracker crumbs (I grind them in a blender), 1/3 cup sugar and butter. Mix well and press into the sides and bottom of an 8" spring-form pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
In a medium microwaveable glass bowl add unwrapped caramels and evaporated milk. Microwave for 90 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 60 seconds. Stir. Continue now in 30 second increments until all the caramel is melted and you have a smooth creamy sauce. Reserve 1/4 cup for later and pour the rest onto the Graham cracker crust. Set in the freezer to set while you prepare the next step.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until completely smooth, but do not over mix. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Again, mix well but do NOT over mix.
Carefully spoon over the caramel.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and keep baking for an additional 45 minutes or until filling is almost set. Turn the oven off but keep the cheesecake in there for 2- 3 hrs.
Remove from the oven and allow to continue to cool at room temperature. Now it's time to make the ganache topping.
Add chocolate chips and cream to a small microwaveable mixing bowl. Microwave for 1 minutes. Stir until melted. Add butter, cut in chunks. Stir until everything is melted and shiny. Pour over the top and allow to drip down the sides. Allow to set a bit then drizzle the remaining caramel over the top.
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours!
Enjoy and be completely satisfied!