Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

This cheesecake is amazing. Sooooooo good. It was my favorite new recipe from Pie Night 2014. It looks fantastic and tastes even better. There was about 1/4 left after Pie Night and I ate the entire thing over the next two days. So. Good. The cheesecake is really good and creamy, but the crust and topping totally make the whole thing.

There was one giant flaw with this cheesecake. The chocolate layer. It was rock solid when I served the cheesecake and made it impossible to cut and awkward to eat. Next time I make this I’ll melt the chips and mix with a tiny bit of shortening before spreading in on the crust. Not sure if that will go weird when I bake it, but I need to try something to solve the hard chocolate problem. BUT, the hard chocolate might be my fault. I made the cheesecake ahead of time and froze it, so that might have been the problem. I’ll test it next time and update this post.

The recipe tells you to wrap the pan in wet dishtowels instead of a traditional water bath that cheesecakes usually call for. This freaked me out at first, but it was no problem at all. I just drenched three dishtowels, wrung them out, wrapped two of them around the pan and put one underneath. This was a million times easier than a water bath and as far as I can tell it yielded the same results.

Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake (from Yammie’s Noshery)

Crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
Heaping 1/2 cup toffee bits (the kind with chocolate)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300º. Combine everything except the chocolate chips. Press into a springform pan lined with parchment paper. Push all the way up the sides and press in firmly. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Set the springform pan on a baking sheet. Bake for about five minutes or until the chocolate chips are melty. Smooth them out with an offset spatula. Throw it in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Filling:
3 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup caramel topping (recipe below)
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and caramel and beat well. Add the eggs and beat just until combined. Pour into chilled crust. Wrap the springform pan with a couple of wet dishtowels (this helps the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly). Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The center will still be jiggly, but never fear, it shall set in the end. Turn the oven off and open the door about 4 inches, but leave the cheesecake in for about 30 more minutes (this helps the cheesecake to cool more slowly and evenly and prevents cracking). Remove from the oven and cool for about 30 more minutes. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Topping:
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
About 1/2 cup caramel
Heaping 1/2 cup toffee bits, plus more for garnish (again, I used the chocolatey kind)

Beat the whipping cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form.
Combine the caramel and 1/2 cup of toffee. Place small chunks all over the top of the chilled cheesecake and carefully them spread them together (it will be pretty thick, so don’t just plop it all on thinking you’ll be able to spread it out). Pipe some whipped cream along the edge and garnish with more toffee bits. Slice with a large wet knife for cleaner slices.

Homemade Caramel Sauce:
1 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and syrup. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Once it is caramel colored, add the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add the cream and stir until it’s all combined. Stir in vanilla. Store in the refrigerator if not using right away.

Tips for freezing cheesecake: Make sure it’s totally cool. After it’s completely cool, let it chill in the fridge for at about an hour. You are supposed to remove the outer ring of your springform, but I chose not to with this cheesecake (the crust was a little higher than the cheesecake, and removing the pan would have crushed it). But it worked just fine to freeze in the springform, so I’ll always do that going forward since it was much less fragile that way.

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