Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bars

We all have those things that we have to have in the kitchen at all times.  For most bloggers, that item usually falls under a certain ingredient.  However, for people that do not cook, it is some type of choice food, beverage or sauce.

Whatever the choice may be, some will always perceive it as being strange. I heard of someone with a whole refrigerator drawer full of bouillon cubes.  That one, I think would probably fall into the strange category by many!  The latest I have come across inspired me to make this particular dessert.

Even though the dessert is made out of Dulce de Leche, it is not exactly what my friend requires to be in the kitchen at all times.  They must have the so called "magic shell" topping for ice cream, caramel flavor, of course.  I do like caramel, but the magic shell is not something that comes to mind when I think of caramel. However, dulce de leche always does.

Anyhow, on to the recipe.  The flavor of dulce de leche can be found in the cheesecake batter as well as the top layer of this dessert.  Besides the tasty double caramel flavor, the bars are a better way to go when serving a crowd.  You get all the taste of cheesecake without as much guilt as a 3 inch thick slice of a standard cheesecake....Oh and as for my friend who enjoyed the bars, they continue to stay in the foods of convenience area-which includes the magic shell.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
adapted from Bon Appetit June 2010 Issue

1 1/4 sticks or 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbs sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
24 oz of cream cheese (3-8 oz pkgs)
1/2 cup dulce de leche
1 cup sugar

3 tbs heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup dulce de leche

Prepare a 9X13 inch pan by coating the interior with a non stick spray.  Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  For the crust, stir together all the dry ingredients until evenly mixed.  Place the butter in a saucepan over low heat or a microwave safe dish and melt it. Once completely melted,  pour it into the dry ingredients.  Mix until all the crumbs are coated with the butter.  The crumbs will easily clump together.  Empty the mixture into the center of the prepared pan.  Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan, making sure it evenly covers the bottom interior of the pan.  Bake for about 10 minutes. It should have a golden hue when done.  Place pan on rack and let cool completely.

For the filling, beat together the cream cheese and sugar.  A hand mixer or food processor working for about 1 minute should thoroughly blend the two together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in each egg (one at a time).  Spoon in the dulce de leche and add the vanilla extract to the batter.  Beat for about 10 seconds until the additions are evenly distributed throughout the batter.  Spoon the batter over the crust, and spread until even.

Place pan in oven and bake for about 38 minutes.  The center will be set and the edges will be cracked once the bars are done baking.  Place pan on rack and let cool completely.

The topping starts out with heating together the dulce de leche and cream.  One option is to heat the mixture in a microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing with a spoon at the end of each interval. The other option is to melt the mixture together in a saucepan on low heat.  Once melted, the glaze should be pourable, if not, more cream is needed.  Add just one tsp of cream and then test its pourability. Continue with that process until you reach the correct consistency.  The variance of the cream can be attributed to the different brands of dulce de leche on the market.  Pour the glaze over the cheesecake and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour prior to cutting and serving.  For storing this dessert, cover pan and place in refrigerator.

Tips and Notes:
1. Dessert can be prepared 2 days ahead
2. Recipe recommends that the pan of bars be cut into 4 strips by 6 strips
3. Suggestion made to sprinkle each bar with sea salt.
                                **LAST YEAR:Rum Raisin Almond Tart**