I made these cheesecake squares for my hubby to take to work today. The work gang was having a Cinco de Mayo lunch potluck and he lovingly volunteered me to make the dessert. He knows that I love any excuse to bake! I really wanted to go all theme like and make churros or apple empanadas….or fried ice cream, yum…anyone ever tried making that at home? I really need to someday! None of those things seemed like they would travel all that well though, so I did a little search for dulce de leche. Despite the popularity of this yummy treat I have never actually baked with it. When I came across these Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares on Smitten Kitchen I knew I had a winner, especially since Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs of all time. I was a little skeptical when I first pulled these out of the oven, they seemed firmer that I thought they would be and I thought that I may have over-baked them a little. Turns out I needn’t have worried…they were delicious! Now those of you who follow my blog know that I am not eating eggs and dairy right now, due to the allergies of my nursing little guy. I am very good about following a strict diet and have lately been trying to make more allergy friendly desserts. That said, I did take one small bite of these. I figured I couldn’t really share them with you unless I tried at least a bite:-) They are now on my “to make after weaning” list. I can’t wait to have a whole square! I didn’t think the Dulce de Leche flavor really stood out all that much but they were super good anyway. I drizzled a little caramel on top just for fun…I think it gives them a little extra pizazz don’t you?
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
- 3 1/2 oz graham crackers, crumbled (1cup)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dulce de leche (12 1/2 oz) *
- 3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.
Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften.
Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Glaze cake within 2 hours of serving
Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 1-inch squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut.
*There are different ways to come by Dulce de Leche. You can purchase it or make it. I noticed a variety of ways to make it (with sweetened condensed milk), the most common being the “boil in the can” method. I was a little too chicken to attempt that. I could totally envision the can exploding and covering my kitchen with sticky goo. I ended up trying the boiler pan method, and then, when I decided that was taking to long, I dumped the milk into a heavy saucepan and cooked over low until light brown and caramelized. It worked great but I may keep tinkering with different methods.