Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake [A Guest Post from Monica and Caroline of Pass the Cocoa]

Welcome to Buttercream Fanatic: Vacation Edition! As you read this, I am heading home from Chile and Easter Island. Today marks the last of the fantastic guest posters that have covered for me  in my absence. Last week Kylie shared her mouthwatering and better-than-the-Girl-Scouts'-version Caramel Delite-ish Trail Mix Doughnuts and the week before that, Pamela offered up a fresh, fruity smoothie. Told you I wouldn't let you go hungry while I was gone. 

Last but most certainly not least, we have this masterpiece of a cheesecake from Monica & Caroline, the talented ladies behind Pass the Cocoa. These women are both brilliant (Northwestern and Harvard students!) and talented (have you seen these macarons and this brownie cake???), and some of the friendliest and most professional bloggers out there. And did I mention they manage to do it all despite the hurdles presented by things like college classes and dorm kitchens? So impressive.

Anyway, I do realize I am standing between you and cheesecake right now, so I'll let them take over... 

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Chocolate meets caramel in this luxurious, velvety smooth cheesecake. It's a beautiful symphony of chocolate and caramel flavors that melt perfectly in your mouth with each bite. Yet, despite its name, the cheesecake is actually not that overwhelmingly rich thanks to the tang of cream cheese.

The Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake is truly the perfect balance of flavors -- sweet and rich but tangy, chocolate but with caramel depth, elegant in appearance, divine in taste. This, my friends, is what we call a beautiful dream come true.


Good morning, readers of Buttercream Fanatic! Are you drooling yet? (: This is Caroline and Monica, from Pass the Cocoa. When we're not busy being college students, we love to bake,  feed our friends, and experience this thing called the freshman  sophomore 15.


Before we totally lose you in cheesecake heaven, can we talk about how thrilled we are to be posting for Buttercream Fanatic?

Nora has captivated us from the very beginning with her delicious recipes like Nutella Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (which we tried out ourselves, here!). She is not only an amazingly talented baker but also one of the sweetest and most warm-hearted bloggers we know. In other words, Buttercream Fanatic is a gem. Be sure to stick around, because we have a feeling Nora has some fabulous recipes up her sleeve when she is back from Chile!

Now let's talk cheesecake.


Yummyyyy. That bite was delicious.

This cheesecake is perfect in every way. Smooth, creamy chocolate with caramel depth...It's a dessert worthy of not only classy occasions, but also everyday enjoyment. Sit back, relax, take in the moment, and savor every luxurious bite.

Bon apetit!
Caroline & Monica

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First, get your Oreo crust ready. If you're feeling celebratory like us, you can use birthday cake Oreos.



Now for the chocolate and caramel. It's a very thick mixture. Then add in some sour cream, and it will be less thick. Confession -- The attempt at making caramel failed due to impatience, so store-bought caramel was used instead. The outcome was just as delicious (and significantly less time consuming), but we'll definitely make real homemade caramel another time, promise!



Cream the cream cheese until nice and fluffy, but don't overbeat or else the cheesecake will not have the right texture. It's important that the cream cheese is completely softened at room temperature. Our cream cheese below was left at room temperature for a whole day, just to be safe.



Mix in the chocolate caramel. Isn't it pretty?



Next add the eggs one at a time, mixing each time...Clearly we got too excited and added all four at once. No harm though. Just make sure to always stir the mixture at the lowest possible speed, in order to avoid beating in excess air. The addition of eggs will make the batter very smooth and glossy.



Add a splash of vanilla.



Pour into springform pan, on top of the Oreo crust. Place springform pan on top of a flat pan, in case the pan leaks. Then, we placed a pan filled with hot water in the rack below the cheesecake.



Enjoy!




Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
Chocolate meets caramel in this luxurious, velvety smooth cheesecake. The caramel adds a layer of depth that sets this cheesecake apart from others.

Found on Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Epicurious and Gourmet Magazine
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 2 hours to prepare/bake, plus at least 6 hours to chill

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) finely ground Oreos
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces caramel (store-bought or homemade)
8 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, use a food processor or rolling pin with plastic bag to finely crush the Oreos. Then add melted butter. Press onto the bottom of a buttered 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan. Set aside.

Make homemade caramel using a recipe of your choosing, or use store-bought caramel. In a medium bowl, take your warm caramel and mix in the chocolate until smooth. If the chocolate does not melt in the caramel, warm the mixture in a microwave for 5 second increments, stirring in between each interval until completely smooth. Next stir in the sour cream.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then gradually stir in the chocolate caramel mixture. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add vanilla.

Pour into springform pan and bake in a larger baking pan (to catch drips) in the middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees F for 50 - 55 minutes. Place a pan filled with hot water on the rack directly below the cheesecake.

After baking, slowly open the oven door just a crack and let the hot air rush out as slowly as possible. Gradually open the oven door a smidgeon more at a time until all the way open. Gradual temperature change is important in order to prevent cracks from forming on the cheesecake. Take out the cheesecake and immediately run a knife around edges of the cheesecake to loosen.

Cool completely in springform pan to room temperature. Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours, best overnight.


Storage Note: Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.





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9 comments:

  1. So happy to have the privilege of making this yummy cheesecake for you ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  2. indiaandworldcuisine.blogspot.September 25, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    such a heavenly creamy cheesecake...we are sure if we get to make this,we can never wait to share...yummy and divine :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. And I am so happy you were willing to do it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stacy | Wicked Good KitchenSeptember 25, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Girls, you made a lovely chocolate cheesecake! A couple helpful tips for your future cheesecakes...get the other components nailed down, first, so they are 'tried and true' and familiar to you (like the caramel sauce) and be sure to bring your cream cheese and eggs fully to room temperature so there will be no lumps. Having both at room temperature will create the creamy texture you desire. All this aside, I bet your cheesecake tasted divine! Thank you for sharing your step-by-step and for introducing me to Nora's wonderful blog! xo

    ReplyDelete
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  6. Chocolate and caramel is a pairing I definitely don't see together often enough!! LOVE this luscious cheesecake.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree, it's a brilliant pairing! These ladies are quite talented!

    ReplyDelete

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