You Want Pies WIth That? – Caramello Cheesecake

Our theme for the month of April was Family Favorites, chosen by previous winner Natalie at Oven Love. So I thought long and hard about it. Cheesecakes are my new favorite thing to make. God help me, I am a cheesecake addict. The sheer agony of having to wait 3 hours while one bakes and then comes to room temp is torture, but then it has to sit in the fridge for soooo long I nearly pee myself waiting for it to be cool enough to slice. But man, is it ever worth the wait.

With cheesecake in mind, I had two thoughts. One, my Mom loves Peppermint Patties and Junior Mints. Every year for Christmas, Dad would buy her some for her stocking. We didn’t ask to share – we knew better. My second thought was this- my sister and I have always loved Caramello Bars. I think Jenn (that’s her name) will agree with me that even if the size of the Caramello bar is questionable – for example, snack size, regular sized, movie sized, King Sized, or Baking Sized- well, if you sit down and eat the whole bar, as long as it was all contained in the same factory wrapper, it only counts as ONE Caramello Bar. That’s the rule. And sorry, no, you can’t share. Too messy to break one, you see…you’ll just have to go get your own.

After a Tweet asking friends to help me decide, I was bombarded with Caramel Cheesecake requests. So that’s what I made. The Mint will have to wait.

I went with another tri-level cheesecake, similar to the one I did for last month’s Daring Baker Challenge. This time, I added about 4 ounces of melted chocolate to the base layer batter. It didn’t get as dark as I would have like the last time I made it with 3 ounces, so I upped it an ounce. For the middle layer, I added one melted and stirred Jumbo Caramello Bar. For those of you wondering what a melted a stirred Jumbo Caramello Bar looks like – well, it isn’t pleasant. It doesn’t melt smoothly. It sticks to itself and doesn’t like being stirred. It hangs on tightly to the spoon you are stirring it with and just spins aimlessly about the bowl, leaving a film behind. I added chopped walnuts to it (if you want to call it that) and threw it in the KitchenAid with about 1/3 of the cheesecake batter. Oh, it didn’t like that very much. It moaned and groaned but finally started to separate from itself and mix in with the batter. The top layer was the regular cheesecake batter.

Once it baked off and cooled, I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 distinctly colored layers. To the top, I added 6 ounces of melted caramel and an ounce of chopped walnuts. I should have let the caramel get hotter – it didn’t want to spread. At all. But I got it on there, and that’s what counts. Finally, on top of that, I made a rich chocolate ganache to cover it.

I wish I had patience, but alas, I most certainly do not. I wanted to cut into it and photograph it before work today, even though I didn’t pour the ganache on until 8:30 this morning. FYI – 30 minutes is not long enough for ganache to set up. Just saying.

The caramel layer on the very top? Delicious, but hell to cut through. It mangles the rest of the piece, screwing with the presentation. And the Caramello layer? That’s some freaking good cheesecake, people. I would be happy just making a cheesecake out of that concoction.

So don’t mind me. Or my sister. Same rule applies to a piece of cheesecake as the Caramello Bar rule: If you can cut a slice and it looks like a slice – it’s a slice. 2 inches wide or 9, makes no difference. I won’t tell you which size I ate for breakfast.

Now, please go check out the You Want Pies With That Family Traditions Pie Round Up starting tomorrow. And why not join us next month? We’d love to have you!

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