My husband is crazy for caramel. He also insists that the word be pronounced with three syllables. Saying KAR-MUL is practically a sin in this house. He’s very particular about that.
It also has to be football, never ever soccer.
Three meals a day? Breakfast, dinner, tea. It gets a bit confusing sometimes.
It took me months to learn the difference between the washing and the washing up. One’s laundry and one’s dishes. Why can’t they use different words for different things?
Luckily, cheesecake is a language we both speak. These caramel swirl cheesecake bars live on a buttery shortbread crust and are run through with sweet sticky salted caramel sauce. I love it because it’s delicious, duh, but also because it’s much easier to transport and serve than a regular cheesecake.We brought this to Geoff’s birthday party, and everybody loved it. And I made the whole thing for what it would have cost to buy one dessert at a restaurant.
This recipe is slightly simplified from the brilliant Shauna of Piece of Cake. Everything she does is beautiful.
No matter what version of English you speak, I think we call all agree that caramel swirl cheesecake bars are totally awesome.
Photos by Monica Szczupider
- 14 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (if you just have regular caramel sauce, just add salt.)
- Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350. Cover a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil. Do your best to tuck it in smoothly in the corners and fold the extra over the side. (I'm terrible at this.)
- In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Your mixture will probably be very buttery. This is awesome.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. I like to use a bit of wax paper to keep the dough from sticking to my hands. This helps make a smoother layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown, but the center will still be pale. Pop it on a rack to cool.
- Reduce your oven temp to 325.
- If you have an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese for a few minutes to smooth it out. If not, this will count as your workout of the day.
- Beat in the sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time.
- Scrape down the sides of your bowl and then give everything one good last mix to make sure it's all smooth and lovely.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over your cooled crust. Plop small spoonfuls of caramel throughout the batter. Using a butter knife, carefully swirl your caramel over the surface of the cheesecake batter. Be careful not to scrape the crust with your knife.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. The cheesecake will still be ever so slightly wobbly in the center.
- Let your cheesecake cool to room temperature on a rack, then transfer it to the fridge to chill for at least four hours, overnight is better.
- Cut into rectangles and store in the fridge in an airtight container, if you can make them last that long.