Tell, me. What could be better than cheesecake? Well, it’s chocolate chip cheesecake. Now, add some caramel and you have the most delicious dessert imaginable. Top with your favorite fruit, if you want, although I think you’ll love this one naked. I will say, I don’t see any way to make this vegan, but maybe one of my vegan friends has an idea.
Now, before we get to the recipe, which you’re gonna absolutely love, a little warning about the pan. Yes, you need a special pan for your cheesecake since there’s no way to get this perfection out of a traditional cake plate.
This pan, called a springform, has a bottom and sides that fit snuggly against the bottom for cooking then open up after the cake cools so you just pull the sides free and leave the cake on the base. These pans vary in price depending on the material and other factors, but range from a couple of bucks and up. The non-stick version of the pan pictured here is from Amazon and is under $15.
Now, the warning. Be sure the bottom tightly fits into the grove in the sides or you’ll leak butter onto your oven. Not only is this a bear to clean up (and feel free to replace bear with another b-word), but a fire hazard. I was baking a couple of these lovelies for a party when I was about 8 months pregnant with my first child. The oven flamed and if anyone had seen me trying to bend over my large belly to blow out the fire, they probably would have peed themselves laughing. But, I didn’t want to sprinkle salt on the flames because I didn’t want to ruin my cakes. BTW, this isn’t a cheap cake. You’ll likely spend $20 or so on the ingredients and it takes some time to do this right.
Now, for the recipe for chocolate chip cheesecake that combines the best of several recipes into 1 delicious masterpiece.
1 box vanilla wafers
16 oz caramel pieces
1 small can of evaporated milk
1/2 C mini chocolate chips
1 C chopped nuts (pecans are the best)
3 packages of cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 C sugar
1 stick butter, melted (you can substitute margarine, but I wouldn’t)
The cheesecake is made in layers with the crust on the bottom, then caramel, then chocolate chips, and finally the cheesecake. The cheesecake is the gooey kind rather than the firmer NY cheesecake. I sometimes double up on the cheesecake part because I really love that part the best.
To make the crust, crush the vanilla wafers and mix with melted butter. Press into the bottom and sides of the springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°
Melt the caramels over a double boiler along with the milk. I use the kind you have to unwrap individually, so I get the milk hot and add them as I unwrap them. Stir periodically to keep the caramels from burning on the bottom. There’s nothing worse than the smell of burned caramel. When your caramels are melted, pour the mixture over your baked crust. Next, add a layer of chopped nuts.
Now, you mix the remaining ingredients and carefully pour the mixture over your base to ensure you don’t push all the nuts into one side. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Note that the cheesecake won’t pass the cake test. Cooking much longer than 40 minutes results in a tough, dry cheesecake, which doesn’t really work for me.
Wait until the cake has cooled for about 20 minutes before opening the spring and removing the sides.
Serving your chocolate chip cheesecake
Now, I’ll warn you that cutting this beauty isn’t easy. You need a warn knife, a bowl of warm water, and a cake server. The warm knife helps you cut more easily while rinsing the knife in warm water keeps it clean and warm for the next slice. If you’re taking this cake to a party, consider pre-slicing it to avoid mess when it’s served.
To make the cake even more special for an event, you can add a thin layer of chocolate icing on top (especially since the cake tends to crack on top as it cools) then decorate with flowers or anything else you wish. My dad always had cheesecake instead of a regular birthday cake we decorated it accordingly.
OK, enough for today.
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