So, the salted caramel thing has been around for a few years. When I first heard about it, I thought this is amazing. I LOVE caramel. And salty sweet stuff? Yum. Caramel and/or chocolate dipped pretzels? I have probably gained 5 pounds in my lifetime just because of that.
But the first few times I had it, it was gross. Someone gave us caramel apples with chunks of sea salt on them and I thought I was going to gag. Another time, I had caramels covered in chocolate with bits of sea salt on top. WTH? It was disgusting. SO SALTY! Then I realized these people were doing it wrong (in my book). The salt has to be WAY more subtle than that. Not like you’re eating rock salt with a little caramel.
Once that lesson was learned, I’ve come to enjoy many a salted caramel dessert. One of my favorites is the Cheesecake Factory’s Salted Caramel Cheesecake. This isn’t that recipe. Sorry about that. But THIS is really yummy. It takes a few steps, but hang in there because it’s worth it. And you’ll look like a star to whomever you serve it to!
Caramel cheesecake in a buttery graham cracker crust, topped with caramel-sweetened sour cream and drizzled with salted caramel. No hunks of salt. I promise.
Salted Caramel Cheesecake
adapted from bite me more
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup heavy cream, warmed
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
4 (8oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup salted caramel sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sour Cream Topping
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp salted caramel sauce
½ tsp vanilla extract
Salted caramel sauce, for garnish
1) For the salted caramel, place sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continuously stir until the sugar is completely melted and a deep amber color. Remove from heat and stir in butter until combined. Add cream and sea salt (mixture will bubble up) and return to heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a glass container to cool completely. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
2) For the cheesecake crust, preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar. Press the mixture evenly and firmly over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
3) For the cheesecake filling, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Add cream, caramel and vanilla extract until combined. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake 55-60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes before placing topping over cheesecake.
4) For the sour cream topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar, caramel and vanilla extract until well combined. Spread over cheesecake and bake for 5 minutes in 350ºF oven. Cool 1 hour at room temperature and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Just before serving, drizzle salted caramel sauce to garnish.