This is a dessert that gets talked about long after the plates are cleaned. I make it only once or twice a year and it is always by request. The cheesecake starts with an oreo cookie crust that is covered in caramel sauce, then a layer of creamy cheesecake. Once cooled, it is sprinkled with toasted pecans and drizzled with both caramel and chocolate.
Just the smallest sliver really is a serving. Decadent, rich and worthy of any special occasion, this is a masterpiece of a cheesecake. I'm happy to tell you that this cheesecake is much MUCH easier to make than you expect!
COOK'S NOTE: I typically use a 9" pan and I have used a 10" pan for this cake as well in the past. It simply makes for a shorter height cheesecake. An 8" pan will work too, simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. The smaller pan may take as much as 10-15 minutes longer to cook.
Turtle Cheesecake with Caramel, Chocolate and Pecans
recipe adapted from Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Yield: 16 - 24 servings
12 oreo chocolate sandwich cookies, about 1 cup finely crushed, gluten free cookies work fine
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup caramel sauce, I used this homemade caramel sauce
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted if desired
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush the oreo cookies in a large freezer weight ziploc bag. You can use a rolling pin or mallet to crush them. Or, you can quickly pulse them in a food processor. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture into the bottom of a spring-form pan. Pour 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce over this crust and spread it across the crust lightly with a spatula. Refrigerate this crust for 10 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until each one is blended. Pour this mixture over the refrigerated crust. Place the spring-form pan on a large baking sheet prior to placing it in the oven. (If you line the baking sheet with foil first, clean up will be a breeze.) Some of the caramel in the crust will drip through the pan onto your oven if you forget this step.
Bake 65 - 70 minutes, until the center is almost set. Run a knife around the edges of the pan while it is still warm. Let cool at room temperature and then refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before removing the sides of the pan.
Once the sides of the pan have been removed, sprinkle the pecans across the top of the cheesecake and then drizzle with the remaining caramel and the melted chocolate. Store remaining cheesecake in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Brown Sugar Whole Wheat Shortbread