Caramel Brownie Cheesecake
I really do love Smitten Kitchen.
I was spending quality time on their website earlier this week, under the assumption that I had no time to make a birthday cake for my boyfriend who I was heading to see on the weekend. I mean, I was like super busy and had just resolved that it was totally understandable if I showed up without a delicious goodie in my arms.
But then I saw this recipe.
There are thousands of recipes on that blog and it makes me feel almost frightened that, had fate not intervened, I might have never seen this recipe.
Someone was looking out for me that day.
And they directed me to my cheesecake-brownie filled destiny.
So my blog has fabulously documented my growth from brownie-confusionist to brownie-affectionato. As it stands currently, I am feeling pretty damn good about this little chocolatey squares. And I'm feeling even better about my ability to make devour-able ones.
And here they are, wedded to Cheesecake.
There were many revelations that happened during my journey to make this cheesecake. The first was seriously life changing.
Up until this adventure, I knew of only two suitable non-pastry crusts: oreo, and graham crackers.
Seriously. This was my world: "Ahhh, oreo.... or graham cracker?"
How limiting! But then the recipe called for some Teddy Grahams... I have broken free and with one little change to my baking repertoire I have opened my eyes to endless opportunities!
I have the power to crush up anything I could possibly want and turn that bad boy into a crust.
I am so inspired right. now. You have no idea how many crusts I am envisioning.
Now, back to the cheesecake.
As you can see, I did run a little low on Teddy Grahams (may they rest in peace, in my belly) and so I thickened up the base with some regular graham crackers.
I like my crusts thick!
The recipe uses brownies that are something other than the best so I corrected that oversight. I made the TO DIE FOR Caramel Brownies and mixed the caramel in so that the caramel flavour with penetrate to each and every corner of the fudgie cube.
Next I made my cheesecake batter. Is that the proper word? Batter? I do not know. Which leads me to my next point... or, rather, more appropriately called, my next confession.
I don't like cheesecake.
Gasp! I know. It shocks me as much as it shocks everyone that I tell. I love so many treats yet there is a monstrous field of desserts that I intentionally steer clear of, that everyone else seems to think is like the most amazing thing ever.
Believe me, I wish I liked cheesecake. It's like I pulled the short straw on this taste preference.
I don't like cheesecake (it doesn't get easier, no matter how many times I say it) but I do know that basically everyone else I know does. So when I need a party pleaser, you can guess where I turn.
Now, this cheesecake was really quite liquified! I was concerned that I had done something wrong but it turned out to work in my favour.
How? Oh, you will see.
I found myself standing on the edge of decadence and, as per usual, I dove right on in. I had a whole batch of caramel brownies sitting there - would I save some of them to be eaten in between finger licking pauses? Or to be stored in tin containers until all that was left from the sneaking and nibbling was indistinguishable morsels? Or would I gift them to hungry friends and helpful neighbours?
Or would I put all of them in the cheesecake birthday cake?
Heck, I poured them all in.
There was a moment. Oh, and it was such a tiny, insignificant moment! Anyone other than the most absolutely perceptive dessert lover would have missed it. It was in that moment that I asked myself: am I putting in too many brownies?
But, as I said, it was just a moment. All of those brownies went in.
The cheesecake willingly devoured the brownies and coated each and every available surface.
And I just kept pouring in those brownies! I gently folded them in until they were as covered as possible (there was a lot of brownie ground to cover!) and then I baked it.
The best thing about a cake like this is it will last forever (in a freezer) - if you can resist the temptation to eat it, that is! I had to take this cake on a 4 hour trip to my boyfriend's house and I needed it to be as protected as possible. So I froze it! Here it is, looking chilly.
Here it is - loaded with brownies - coated with a layer of milk chocolate ganache!
Enjoy, you cheesecake and brownie lovers!
Caramel Brownie Cheesecake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I have to admit, I don't measure how much butter or cookies I use when making a crust. I go by look and feel! Pour in the cookies, add some melted butter, add more if necessary.
24 oz cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 brown sugar
Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Apparently a cheesecake is done when there is still a slight jiggle in the middle when it's shaken. Mine was solid after 40 minutes. Perhaps it's because of the scaffolding of brownies that was inside? Likely.
and yes, this is how my puppy sleeps... when he is not snoring.