Caramel Swirl Cheesecake bars are rich and creamy with a crisp cookie crust. Swirled through with salted caramel, they’re beautiful and sweet at the same time. Make these for your next celebration. Everyone will love them.
I’m in the last minute Christmas panic, trying to figure out how to rearrange my schedule to fit in everything I still need to do before the holidays. I swear someday I’m going to get myself a time turner. Can one of you people who have this whole holiday thing all figured out please come and take over my life? I’m in the weeds.
The crazy thing about it is that I’m more stressed out this year than I’ve been in ages, and I’m not even hosting. We’re traveling to my sister-in-law’s house. I don’t even know if I’m cooking anything. You’d think I’d be nice and relaxed. Turns out, manifesting your dream job is kind of all-consuming.
Maybe we should just all drop everything and bake. I wish cheesecake was a socially acceptable Christmas gift. I’d have it made because these Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars are absolutely swoon-worthy. The crust is buttery and crisp, and the cheesecake layer is so creamy and smooth. Most of the sweetness comes from the salted caramel that’s swirled throughout. The swirls also look amazing, so you could easily serve this as dessert for Christmas dinner. I made it for Thanksgiving this year, and it was a huge hit.
This recipe is also much less stressful than a traditional cheesecake. We’re pressing a buttery cookie dough into the base of our pan and pre-baking it until golden. While that’s cooling, we mix up our cheesecake mixture. Pour that over the crust, then swirl in your caramel. You can make your own if you want, but I used a thick and delicious store bought salted caramel sauce that I love, and it worked great. I just popped it into the microwave for about 30 seconds to thin it out before swirling it through.
Because we’re not baking a huge layer of cheesecake, we don’t have to worry as much about cracks. Just make sure you don’t overbake it. Pull it out of the oven when there’s still a slight wobble in the center. It will continue to cook for a few minutes out of the oven and firm up when it chills.
Soon we’ll be ready to sink deep into that holiday cheer. If there are Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars involved, all the better for everyone. It’s gonna be awesome.
Caramel Swirl Cheesecake BarsCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
- For the crust
7 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
- For the cheesecake
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
- For the crust
- Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350 f (175 C). Cover a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil. Do your best to tuck it in smoothly in the corners and fold the extra over the side.
- In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. You can just use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for this.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- 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.
- For the cheesecake
- Reduce your oven temp to 325 F (160 C).
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese for a few minutes to smooth it out. Beat in the sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until it’s smooth after each addition.
- 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 20-25 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.
Recipe adapted from Shauna Sever.
Looking for more awesome caramel cheesecake ideas? Try this Caramel Toffee Cheesecake.