Monday, June 22, 2015

A Birthday Cheesecake

Now along with my love of travel, crafts, and books, I also have a thing for making cheesecakes.  I rarely follow a recipe exactly, because you can do so much experimenting with cheesecakes.  My Dad is certainly not averse to cheesecake, so for his combined Father's Day & Birthday dinner I decided to make him one.  I asked him to tell me what kind and he said I could decide.  Of course once I told him we'd need to buy some cookies for me to make a crust (I rarely use the standard graham crackers - too boring), he decided he wanted Butter-Pecan Cookies as the base.

That gave me a starting point and from there I turned to Pinterest.  I chose Bake or Break's Pecan & Salted Caramel Cheesecake recipe to use as my guideline.  I was then going to use the Pecan Pie Layer portion from another recipe, but ended up leaving it out because I didn't have any pecans and didn't want the hassle of another step.

Caramel-Nut Shortbread Cheesecake


1 cup of pecan shortbread cookies, crumbled
3 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
½ cup crushed pecans or walnuts


4 packages (32oz total) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

40 caramels (I used about a bag of Kraft Caramel squares)
½ TBSP milk
1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips (or more)
½ cup crushed pecans or walnuts

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray or butter the sides of a 9" spring-form pan.  Mix the cookie crumbs and butter together until thoroughly combined.  Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 12 -15 min.  Remove from oven and let sit until you've prepared the fillings.

To make the cheesecake:  Mix the cream cheese and sugar together with an electic mixer, until light, airy, and smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing completely after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and mix until blended.

To make the filling: Add the carmels and milk to a heavy bottomed saucepan,  stir continuously over medium heat until completely melted.

Create your layers:  Pour half the cheesecake mixture into you pan, then top with the chocolate chips, nuts and carmel; finally, top with the remainder of the cheesecake mixture.  Bake for about 40 minutes (with or without a water bath), until the cheesecake is just set.  Turn off the oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar, and let the cheesecake cool completely.  Once cooled completely, top with any remaining nuts, chocolate, and/or carmel, as desired.  Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours (or overnight) before serving.

**Warning, if you cut this into 14 pieces, you're still looking at around 600 calories per slice...but hey, birthday's only come around once a year, right!?

Calorie (noun)


1.  a unit equal to the kilocalorie, used to express the heat output of an organism and the fuel or energy value of food.

2. a quantity of food capable of producing such an amount of energy.