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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cheesecake

 Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Turtle: 14-oz. package individually wrapped caramels
5-oz. can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans + 1/2 cup chopped pecans for topping

2 (8-oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs (Dave recommends organic free-range eggs)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Ganache: 1-1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 oz. evaporated milk or heavy cream

Caramel Drizzle: 
12-oz. pkg. caramel bits
4 oz. evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. (Dave says to put this in the freezer while you are making the caramel sauce; this will keep the crust from separating when you pour the caramel sauce over the crust.)

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels with the evaporated milk. Heat and stir frequently until smooth. Pour caramel sauce into crust, and top with pecans. (Dave says to put this back into the freezer while you are making the filling; same reasoning as above.)

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla; beat well until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Melt the chocolate, and blend into cream cheese mixture. Pour chocolate batter over pecans. (Dave did not follow these instructions; instead he creamed the cheese well till it was smooth and fluffy; then he added the sugar and beat for another 3-4 minutes till sugar was well dissolved. THEN he added the vanilla and briefly combined. He next melted the chocolate by heating it in the microwave for about a minute on high and added the hot chocolate to the cream cheese mixture. THEN he added the eggs and beat on low speed till combined. He poured this chocolate mixture over the pecans.)

Bake 40-50 minutes, or until filling is set. Loosen cake from the edges of pan, but do not remove rim until cooled to prevent the top from cracking. Thoroughly cool cheesecake before refrigerating. Chill in refrigerator for 4 hours, or overnight.

When cheesecake is thoroughly chilled, prepare ganache by microwaving the chips and 3 oz. milk together on high about 1 minute. Add more milk or cream if needed to make a soft ganache. Stir till well combined and spread over cheesecake.

Make caramel drizzle: Microwave 12 oz. pkg. caramel bits with 4 oz. evaporated milk on high till bits are soft and can be stirred, about 1 minute. Stir till well combined. Drizzle over top of cheesecake. (Dave said he bought squeeze bottles in Wal-Mart for under $1 that are perfect for drizzling. He pours the hot sauce into the bottle, caps it, then just lets it drip over the cake. Be careful not to squeeze or it could explode in your face. The hot sauce forms a vacuum. Just let it drip over the cake.) Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

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