Saturday, December 8, 2012

Layered Turtle Cheesecake

 Thanksgiving at my house always involves three desserts; usually, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. For the past couple of years, we've substituted one of these for cheesecake. Last year, it was a delicious pumpkin flavor, to take the place of pumpkin pie. This year, I wanted a substitute for pecan pie. After seeing so many variations of turtle cheesecake online, I went with this one, and I'm so glad I did.
  This cheesecake starts off with an oreo cookie crust, for which I used gluten-free oreo-like cookies for my mom. Then comes a layer of melted caramels mixed with pecans, then a thick, creamy cheesecake, another layer of the pecan caramel, and finally, a drizzle (or, in this case, festive holiday greeting) of chocolate. It all comes together to create an indulgent dessert that is perfect for any occasion, especially alongside a classic apple pie and maple pumpkin pie.
Layered Turtle Cheesecake 
(from Kraft

24 Oreo cookies (or any other cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie), finely crushed (about 2 cups)

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 package (14 oz.) Kraft caramels (or a similar kind)
1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped pecans

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 eggs

2 oz.  semi-sweet chocolate

Mix oven to 325 F.
Mix together cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
Microwave caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on high for 3 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.
Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
Microwave reserved caramel mixture 1 minute; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed below; drizzle over cheesecake.

How to Pipe Chocolate
Place chocolate in a ziplock bag (or piping bag). Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Squeeze bag to melt chocolate. Snip off the tip of one of the bottom corners of the bag. Holding the top of the bag firmly, drizzle chocolate through opening in desired patterns on cheesecake. 
Reduce oven temperature to 300 F if using a dark nonstick springform pan.

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