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Christmas Caramel Cheesecake! (Tastes just like Cheesecake Factory's)

by Cindy Rippe

I adore cheesecake....with so many different toppings you can put on top, it makes it such a versatile   dessert! Today we are making caramel cheesecake to take to a friend's Christmas party. Here's how to make a cheesecake that's so delicious and baked in a water bath. Since water evaporates at the boiling point, the water bath will never get hotter than 212 degrees F , no matter what the oven temperature. This means that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to soufflé, sink, and crack. 

Start by preheating your oven to 475 degrees. Place a large pan or oven safe skillet (that the cheesecake pan will fit into) that's filled with about 1/2 inch of water into the oven while it preheats. This will be your water bath! 

 

Next combine 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon into a bowl.

Here's a great way to crush those graham crackers! A good old fashioned rolling pin! 

  

Melt a stick of butter and pour into crumbs, mix well. 

 

MMMM! Butter and graham crackers! That's so yummy! Press the crumbs into a springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Just use a pencil and trace around the bottom of the pan for your pattern. Then long strips to go along the sides of the pan. This will make sure your cheesecake  doesn't stick and will look beautiful!  

 

here's the strips of parchment paper  that go around the edge...it's a little tricky getting them to stay put, but you can do it!! I just know it!

   

Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture flat into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3  the way up the side. By the way, that's my husband Henry's hand. He is an aspiring hand model.  

 

Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake dry when placed in the water bath in the oven. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done. Now for the filling! Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar and sour cream. Blend mixture for a couple minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Next, whisk the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and add them to the cream cheese mixture. 

 

Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the eggs. 

 

now, grab your crust from the freezer, and pour the filling into it. Oh this is going to be so good!!!! 

 

Mr. Cheesecake is ready for his hot steaming bath now! Carefully place the cheesecake into the preheated water bath. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color.  

 

When the cheesecake  has cooled, combine 1 can of evaporated milk and 14 oz. of caramels in a double broiler. (You might want to enlist the help of  your kids or grandkids, or hey make your husband or significant other help peel the wrappers off the caramels!) It takes forever if you do it alone! Cook over medium heat until caramels have melted.  

 

THEY'RE MEEEEEELLLLTING!!!!!!!!!!! (reminds me of the witch from Wizard of Oz!)

 

After the caramels melt, pour over cooled cheesecake! 

  

I love the taste of the caramel sauce and how it drips down the sides of the cheesecake!!!
 Pure  Ecstasy, darling!! 

Here's the recipe:

Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

Filling
4 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 t. vanilla extract
5 eggs 

Caramel sauce
1 12oz. can evaporated milk
14 oz. caramels 

follow the instructions above!! I hope you enjoy making it AND eating it as much as we do! 

Merry Christmas!!!!