Friday, January 8, 2016

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecake


Happy Birthday to me!

Yep, this was my birthday cake. And let me tell you, this is a dessert worthy of the name "cake". It was decadent. It was dreamy. It made my tastebuds do a happy dance. Then, it made me realize I had to get it out of the house. Stat. 

Did I get it out of the house? Not so much.


Admittedly, I don't have a lot of cheesecake recipes on the blog. It's actually not my favorite dessert. Have I told my cheesecake story? It's actually not much of a story, but when I was in 5th grade and my parents were having some sort of dinner party, I ate an entire cheesecake. By myself. Do you know what happened next?

I was sick all night long and it was a long, LONG time before I tried cheesecake again. Even the smell of it made me nauseous for years. The aversion is so bad, I can't even eat plain cream cheese on bagels. I can handle a salmon-flavored cream cheese on bagels, but that's a whole other story. I did try cheesecake again in college. I had one bite of a friend's, and I discovered it really wasn't so bad. 


Now today, I can handle a piece of cheesecake if it's done right. As in, the cream cheese flavor isn't overpowering. And this particular cheesecake? It's done right.



The salted caramel topping has a lot to do with the sheer deliciousness of this cheesecake. This sauce is the bomb! I was surprised by how easy it was to make. If anyone remembers my trials and tribulations with my Cinnamon Sugar & Caramel Snack Mix where I had to make that caramel sauce, like, 5 times- this sauce is not that. This was 100% perfect on the 1st try. That's something people, that is something. I'm not sure what it is, but I did notice two differences right off the bat between the two sauces- 

1. This salted caramel sauce utilizes white sugar while the snack mix uses brown sugar.

2. The snack mix sauce has you melt the brown sugar and butter together. With the salted caramel, you melt the sugar, then add the butter. 

Do those differences account for the disparity between the two sauces? They must.



The cheesecake has a lovely Oreo cookie crust. You could crush your cookies in the food processor to get a more fine crumb, but you know what? My dishwasher was full and I didn't feel like hand washing the food processor. After all, this was my birthday cake. So I got out a Ziplock bag and my mallet. A little smashy-smashy later and I had my crust. Ah, stress relief.


It's hard to tell from this picture, by my cheesecake actually split. Argh! I hate when that happens. Luckily, for this cake, it didn't matter. I sprinkled some chocolate chips in the crack-


Then I spread the caramel sauce on the top. Voila! You can't even tell there was once a crack. 

FYI- There's a couple of techniques to use to keep your cheesecake from cracking. First of all, it's super important to completely grease your pan. Completely. Stick-age is the enemy here.  As for baking the cheesecake, one technique is to bake your cheesecake in a water bath. Another technique is to simply run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake when it first comes out of the oven. The reason the cheesecake cracks is that the sides of the cheesecake stick to that pan while the cake is sinking a bit, causing it to crack. Running a knife around the edge of the pan will remedy that problem. 



Did I mention how completely scarf-able this cheesecake is??


100% Scarf-able :-)


So, I've just got tell all of you- I'm not sure who is sharing my Chicken Fajita Casserole but dang you guys! I've been getting crazy traffic for that recipe. I'd already had 750 hits by the time I woke up this morning! For those of you not in the know, I normally get about 200 hits a day so this extra traffic is always welcome. And surprising! I had 1500+ hits yesterday, which just blew my mind. 

I'm going into the weekend pretty happy, to say the least! :-) Have a great weekend everyone!


Recipe adapted from: Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

Sauce-
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp salted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt

Cake-
1 cup Oreo cookies, finely crushed
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened, condensed milk
3 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for topping)
sea salt (optional-for topping)

Directions:

1. Make the caramel sauce- in a small saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat. Use a heat-resistant spatula to continually stir the sugar. It will start to melt and from brown clumps. Keep stirring! Once the sugar is melted, add the butter. Be careful to keep stirring as the caramel will bubble up when you add the butter. Stir the butter until completely melted, 2-3 minutes. Continue stirring as you slowly drizzle the cream in. Keep stirring again, because the caramel will bubble up again when you add the cream. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute, then remove pan from heat. Immediately stir in the salt. Set sauce aside and allow to cool before using. Store in a glass jar for ease of use, keep sauce in the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 300ΒΊ. Thoroughly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine Oreo's and butter. Press mixture evenly into the springform pan.
4. Prepare the filling- place cream cheese in a stand mixer or mixing bowl to use an electric beater on in. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the condensed milk. Beat in the eggs, one by one until thoroughly mixed. Mix in the vanilla. Add chocolate chips to the bowl, and fold in gently with a spatula. Pour filling into springform pan. Top with a handful of mini chocolate chips.
5. Bake in preheat oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set and jiggles slightly in the center. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cheese cake (but leave it in the pan) and place on a cooling rack. Allow cheese cake to cool before chilling in the fridge in the springform pan overnight.
6. Before serving, heat caramel sauce in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Pop springform pan off cheesecake. Pour enough caramel sauce over the top of the cheese cake to cover it. Top with more chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired. Slice, and serve immediately.

*A note about the caramel sauce- Caramel is extremely temperamental during the spring and summer months when the humidity is high. A more experienced baker than I told me that they never make caramel sauce in the summer because it almost always seizes. I can testify to that. A good work around for me in the summer is to cheat with the caramel sauce. I take a bag of packaged caramels (like Werther's), place them in a saucepan, and add 2-3 tbsp of heavy cream. Heat the pan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the caramels have melted and the cream is incorporated, add the salt to taste. Start with 1/2 tsp. Only add another 1/2 tsp of salt if you need it. Use as you would the other sauce.

*A note about baking time- My oven is a convection oven, which bakes about 20% faster than a normal oven. If you are using a regular oven, baking time may take longer, about 60-70 minutes. Check your cheesecake every 5 minutes or so after 50 minutes by jiggling the pan. 

Printable Recipe


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86 comments:

  1. Happy birthday! That looks like a perfect birthday cake to me. Now I wish it was my birthday so I could have one too!

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    1. Thank you! It truly was the perfect birthday cake :-) I hope you make it for your birthday this year Carlee! Have a great day!

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  2. Wow, what a wonderful birthday gift to yourself! This looks so wonderful...I may have to make it for MY birthday in May. Thanks for sharing!
    --G
    www.gingerwroot.com

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    1. It was a wonderful, albeit caloric, birthday present. Amazing. Let me just say, I'm glad my birthday is before New Year's Day and weight loss resolutions. LOL :-) Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

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  3. Cheesecake is such a favorite at my house. Pinning to share :)
    ~Laurie

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    1. This is quite the cheesecake, I highly recommend trying it. I think you will love it! Thanks for stopping by Laurie, have a great week! :-)

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  4. What an AH.MA.ZING recipe. Sure wish I could have helped you celebrate your birthday...I love everything cream cheese...and salted caramel...and chocolate. OH MY! Thanks a million for sharing with us at Weekend Potluck.

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    1. This sounds right up your alley! I too love everything chocolate and salted caramel, so I can say, this is one awesome cake! I hope you try it! Thanks for stopping by Marsha, I hope you have a great day! :-)

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  5. This looks delicious, Jessica. I made cheesecake with chocolate sauce topping a few years ago for my daughter's birthday, but adding the salted caramel would have made it much better. Pinning, Tweeting and planning on making this one soon. I'll be featuring this at this week's Snickerdoodle Sunday Party. Thanks for sharing with us!

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    1. Ooh, I love the idea of chocolate topping. Too many delicious things out there, right? :-) I hope you enjoy the recipe Beverly, have a great weekend! See you at Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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  6. Such an awesome recipe we couldn't help but feature it at this week's Weekend Potluck party. *-* Please stop over and check it out. Thanks again for sharing your deliciousness with us. http://www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com/2016/01/gooey-grapes-weekend-potluck-205.html

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    1. Thank you Marsha! Such great news! I love starting weekend's off this way, with a pep in my step! :-) Have a great weekend Marsha!

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  7. Holy cow! I'm dying over this- WOW. I would definitely not want to share.

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    1. Yes, I took a piece to my mother-in-law. And that was all I shared, ha ha! It was just too, TOO good :-)

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  8. My birthday is next month, and I'm going to try this! (What's a water bath??)
    Thanks! xo

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    1. Happy early birthday xoMommy! This would make a great birthday cake for you!

      A water bath is when you place the cheesecake pan in a larger container, filled with a couple of inches of water. It's supposed to make for more even, gentle baking and decrease the chances of the cheesecake cracking. If I go that route, I usually fill a large casserole pan with 2 inches of water, and then I place the springform pan inside. It can be tricky to get the whole shebang in the oven without spilling some water into the springform pan, which is why I usually just avoid this technique. But lots of people swear up and down this must be done. I'm just a little lazy :-)

      Hope you are having a great weekend, thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Happy late Birthday!! This cheesecake sounds fantastic and I love your pics.

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    1. Thanks Jenn! The pictures are hard for me to look at because all they make me wanna do is make another cheesecake and devour it :-)

      Have a great day!

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  10. Can you tell me how much one cup is? I'm from Holland, we have other measurements..

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    1. Hi Manuela!

      1 cup= 8 oz

      Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend! :-)

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  11. I made this for my family over the weekend and heard (and this is a direct quote): "This is the BEST cheesecake I've ever had in my life. Seriously." Everyone loved it! I want to make it for a work function, but would need to make it individually in a muffin tin. Any recommendations on baking time in a muffin tin as opposed to a springform? Thanks so much!!

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    1. Hi Bayleigh! I actually adapted my recipe from a cupcake recipe! The original recipe recommend baking the cupcake pans 20-23 minutes, or until cupcakes are just slightly jiggly. I bet these would be super yummy in individual portions! Good luck!

      Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

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  12. 400 degrees celcius is that correct? Seems really hot

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    1. Hi Manuela! 300ΒΊF would be 150ΒΊ C. Hope that helps!

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  13. Can you add the caramel sauce well before serving?

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    1. Hello Pell Momma! Yes, you can absolutely add the caramel well before serving! The only requirement for adding the caramel is that the cheesecake is chilled. After it's chilled, you can put caramel on the night before serving if you wish.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope this helped! :-)

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  14. I just took mine out of the oven. It appears to be set but doesn't look brown around the edges at all. Even when I ran the knife around the cheesecake it seems set. Looks very pretty. Hoping this is cooked enough? It barely jiggles.

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    1. Hi Nelda! Different ovens brown at different rates, so if yours barely jiggles, I'd say you are good to go! I also have a convection oven, which might cause the browning. Hope this helps!

      Thanks for stopping by Nelda! :-)

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  15. i made this for my husbands Fire Department..loved it!!

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    1. Oh, I'm so happy to hear that! That's a tough crowd to try to impress! :-)

      Thanks Carla, have a great week!

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  16. Is it best kept in the refrigerator?

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    1. Yes! The leftovers are definitely best kept in the fridge!

      Thanks for stopping by Caley! :-)

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  17. This may be a stupid question but do you take the cream out of the Oreos first?

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    1. Hi Hope! Definitely not a stupid question. It's always good to have a direct answer when it comes to baking. As for this question, I just leave the cream right on there. It makes the "crumb" more moist.

      Thanks for stopping by Hope, have great week! :-)

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  18. I was JUST about to ask this question before I got started, definitely not a stupid question!

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    1. I like to say they are no stupid questions. There's always someone out there wondering the same thing πŸ˜€

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  19. Super frustrating. Melting the sugar turned it into rock hard chunks:( I have never used that method for making caramel before but figured it was worth a shot since you said it was foolproof.. A very frustrating mess of waste:/

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    1. I get your frustration. I actually made this cake for my mother-in-law's birthday in May and I made the caramel 4 times! I had to throw away all 4 batches. It never turned out right and I used ice cream-topping caramel. It was a disaster.

      So what was the deal? That caramel sauce is great to make in the winter, when there is NO humidity. The humidity really is the deciding factor. After speaking to an older, experienced baker they informed me that they NEVER make caramel sauce in the spring or summer. You pretty much have to buy caramel's (like Wurther's) and melt them, adding salt and heavy cream to taste.

      I've actually been thinking about writing a post about caramel problems, because I've experienced them all and I know other people do too. I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience Tami πŸ˜•

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    2. Would you please consider modifying your recipe to include the issue with the caramel and humidity that you mention in the comments? I tried to make the caramel twice tonight and wasted a lot of time and money, then found the comments you posted about humidity making it hard during spring and summer. It would have been nice to have known before making it.

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    3. Hello Mike and Kathleen! I'm sorry to hear that. I have added a note to the recipe about caramel and humidity.

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  20. These have got to be the most decadent dessert recipes I have ever seen in one place...I don't get to eat food like that any longer but I love to know it is out there and others can enjoy it. You have a wonderful ability to mix just the right flavors and textures together.

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    1. Thank you so much Christy! I think this may be the most decadent dessert I make. Next to Pecan Pie Cake, of course πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. It says to let it sit overnight. What if I only have a couple hours? Like 6h. Can I still make it.

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    1. 6 hours of chilling in the mold should be plenty of time, I wouldn't anticipate that being a problem. Best of luck! πŸ˜€

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  22. This recipe is perfect! I made a mini version using 2/3 of the recipe. My friends couldn't believe it was home-made. Thank you for your great recipe

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad it turned out so well! It's always a happy day when that happens! πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»

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  23. Just made this today with my granddaughter for her boyfriend’s 21st birthday but unfortunately we have to wait till tomorrow to have it !! Looks awesome, I’m sure it will taste the same. Have to say though, we had to double the oreo cookie crust, 1/2 cup was not enough to fully cover the bottom of the pan. We had no problems with the caramel sauce…we live in SoCal so not much of a humidity problem here :) Thanks for sharing the recipe !!

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    1. I'm glad you guys had no problem with the caramel sauce! I hope the cake tasted as good as it looked! 😁

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  24. I agree about the problem with the oreo cookie amount for the crust. 1/2 cup was barely enough to cover 1/2 of my 9" springform pan, and the butter was too much for 1/2 cup. I increased the Oreos to 1 cup total and still used the original 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter and it was much better!

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    1. I'm glad you were able to make an adjustment that worked for you! 😁

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  25. Oh, another comment....I just read your reply to another person - you said you have a convection oven. I have a convection setting, but did not use it and it took 70 min before the jiggle was just in the center. Did you use convection? If so, I think you turn the heat down and cook shorter. I think it would be great to indicate baking times/temps with and without convection!

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    1. I did use my oven on convection, which cooks about 20% faster than a normal oven. When I set my convection oven to 300ΒΊ, it automatically adjusts the temp to 275ΒΊ. This most likely contributed to the shorter baking time that I had. I will make a note in the recipe to make that more clear. Thanks Beth! πŸ‘πŸ»

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  26. I would like to make this for a potluck this weekend. However, I would like to make them into minis using muffin tins. Any idea how I would reduce baking time to accommodate this change? And how far ahead could I make these?

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    1. Actually, the recipe I adapted this from was for cupcakes. That recipe recommended baking cupcakes 20-25 minutes, so I would bake for half that time for mini cupcakes. Mini cupcakes usually bake for 12 minutes in my oven. I've found the recipe stays good for about 5 days. Hope that helps Kathleen!

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    2. That's great. Thank you. :) I will also let you know how they turn out and go over!

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    3. I hope they turn out delicious! πŸ˜‹

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  27. I just got back from the grocery store with all of the ingredients to make this cake--very excited! I'm wondering if the chilling overnight part is necessary for the cheesecake to set? Or, is it possible to chill it for a shorter amount of time? Thanks so much! -Marissa

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    1. It doesn't necessarily need to chill overnight. I'd say 4 hours of chill time would be enough 😁

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  28. I'm making this cheesecake this weekend for a holiday party. There are no means available at the party location to heat the caramel sauce prior to serving. Is it possible to heat the sauce a couple of hours prior and place on top of the cheesecake, or will it get too hard? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you. -Amanda

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    1. Yes, you can absolutely put the caramel on ahead of time. The cake is good for 4-5 days with the caramel topping added on πŸ˜€

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  29. I made this cheesecake 2 times now but had one problem. The filling was realy thin, I couldn't fould the chocolate in, it just droped to the buttom of the springform. I don't know what I'm doing wrong... I'm from the Netherlands by the way. Love your recipe!

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    1. Hmmm. Strange indeed. Without seeing how you make it, I'm at a bit of a loss. My only guess would be that maybe the cream cheese wasn't whipped and fluffy enough? Maybe that would cause the chocolate to sink?

      I hope that suggestion takes care of the problem 😁

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  30. After I made the caramel, and let it sit at room temperature, it got really hard. I'm worried about putting it on top of the cheesecake. Should it stay like a sauce? Thanks!

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    1. I'm so sorry for the delayed response, I've been traveling the last couple of days. The caramel does harden on the cheesecake, it keeps it from dripping down the sides. If your sauce has hardened before putting in on the cake, I would put the caramel sauce in small mason jar, and then place the mason jar in warm water. Just try to get the caramel moving a little to put it on the cake.

      Best of luck!

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  31. Would this be safe to sit in a fridge without the caramel topping for say 36 hours or would it go soggy? As in the base soggy? Thank you!!

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    1. Hi Alana! I will say that the cheesecake base gets soggier the older it gets. 3 days will be a bit soggier than Day 1, but still edible. I ate the leftovers of this cake until Day 7 when the base was just too soggy by then.

      I hope this turns out amazing! Happy Holidays!

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  32. I spent ages online looking for an impressive dessert for Christmas day. This is the one I'm going to try, it looks amazing. I'm also hoping I can sway a friend who says she doesn't like cheesecake

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    1. Thank you Emma! I hope it turns out perfect! I'm not the biggest cheesecake lover but this dessert I believe can sway some of those cheesecake haters 😁

      Happy Holidays!

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  33. Thie looks FANTASTIC. Every year my family has a Christmas bake off.. and I am hosting this shindig at my jome this year. My 14 year old sister is on my team and we both agree we HAVE to make this. So... We did just attempt it..I have made this caramel recipe for a vouple other things so that part was cake. However, I have NEVER made cheesecake(thats my dad's expertise). My cheesecake took 70 min which I read is normal... however...it got puffy and has a separate top layer. What did I do wrong?! I know its almost Christmas eve and I'd really like to WOW my family so I hope you see this soon! Thank you so much.

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    1. Off the top of my head, there might be a couple of factors. I'm not sure which factor it might have been but these are my guesses-

      1. 70 minutes might have been too long. The cheesecake should still look a tad underbaked and jiggle a bit when you take it out. This could account for puffiness.

      2. If the eggs or cream cheese were not at room temp, this could account for unevenness.

      3. If the ingredients were not perfectly emulsified after mixing, this could account for puffiness.

      I hope these tips helped. Best of luck Rachelle, Merry Christmas!

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  34. Replies
    1. You've come to the right place then! πŸ˜‹

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  35. Making this tonight for the 2nd time... I made it a few months ago for my coworkers and they paid me 20 bucks to make them another!! lol they haven't stopped asking for it since the first one! ❤️

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    1. That's awesome! Now I just need to find some people to pay ME to make them dessert! πŸ˜‚

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  36. This looks delicious! What if I don't have a spring-form pan. :(

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    1. You can still make this without a springform pan! My 2 suggestions would be to either just serve the dessert out of the pan (it might not look as pretty sitting on the counter but isn't the taste what matters?) or line your pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the dessert out once it's cooled. Another suggestion I've seen online is getting silicone pans to bake in, but from what I've seen, they are expensive. Hope this helps Kara! πŸ˜ƒ

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  37. Recipe calls for 1/2 cup Oreo. Is that correct?

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    1. I'm so sorry for the delay in answering your question! I've been out of town and am just getting back to the blog. Yes, 1/2 cup of Oreo crumbs. Some readers have noted that they need to use up to 1 cup of Oreo crumbs (still just using 3 tbsp butter) to cover their pans. I would say increase the Oreo crumbs as needed πŸ˜ƒ

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  38. Wonderfully garnished caramel chocolate chip cheesecakes. I am planning to organize a birthday party for my niece at one of refined Venues in San Francisco next month. Thanks for sharing this recipe as want to surprise her with homemade cake.

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    1. I hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks for stopping by! πŸ˜„

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  39. I am experienced at making cheesecakes. I thought yours sounded good, so I gave it a try. The measurements for the Oreo crust are way off. Please, if you do not know how to make a basic cheesecake crust, refer to an expert recipe. (There are many: Junior's Cheesecakes, Ina Garten , just to name a couple.). It really requires more than double the amount of Oreos that you stated. Since I was making two, I had to run out to the grocery to buy more. Also, if you use four blocks of cream cheese, it makes the cheesecake thicker and much more professional.

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    1. I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience, thank you for the tips.

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  40. I think the amount of Oreos is confusing people because the original recipe calls for 1 cup, but if you click on the printable recipe it calls for 1/2 cup.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know, it has been remedied! 😁

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