Dulce de leche cheesecake…I could stop here and just go straight to the recipe, it is that good. The fact that they are in bar form just means you can add them to your Christmas cookie tray and eat as many as you want. I mean, usually you just eat one slice of cheesecake or you feel piggy, but I don’t know a single person that doesn’t eat multiple cookies/bars off the Christmas cookie tray at their holiday parties.
These bars are smooth, and nice and dense (original recipe here) – exactly what you want in a bar, something more substantial. Save the light and airy cheesecakes for a whole cake, when you are doing bars, you want something you can cut with confidence into a square that someone can pick up with their hands. Also anyone who tells you they like cheesecake because it is light is full of sh-t – we eat cheesecake because it is dense and rich. Something that has the potential to put you into a sugar coma. Dulce de leche cheesecake bars deliver on all these levels. Dulce de leche is sold in the Mexican aisle and is a super thick Mexican caramel. You can make your own, and I often do because I think it is thicker and I can deepen the caramel flavor. It is simple to make, just empty a few cans of sweetened condensed milk and cook it in a bowl over a double boiler for a few hours. It only needs to be stirred once in a while and doesn’t really need a lot of attention – it just needs you to be home for a few hours. Buy it if this is too much work, the already done canned is just as good.
And though I make these year-round, at the holidays I make a gorgeous, totally with the season gingersnap crust instead of graham crackers. The spicy ginger flavor goes perfect with the sweet filling, and makes them a little bit special for Christmas.
Dulce de leche cheesecake bars
- 2 1/4 cups ground ginger snaps
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 tablespoons 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 3 8- ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup dulce de leche
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup dulce de leche
- 3 tablespoons or more heavy whipping cream
- Sea salt
Heat the oven to 350 and line the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Mix gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
Combine cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, processing a few seconds to blend between each one. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended. Spread batter evenly over the cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack and then put in fridge for a few hours to get good and cool.
Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Cut into bars and sprinkle with sea salt.