This Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is a rich brown sugar cheesecake with crushed pecans and a graham cracker crust with a homemade salted caramel sauce.
I hope you guys like caramel, because this is the second caramel recipe that I am sharing this week. I just couldn’t help myself! Also, you might notice this is a BAKED cheesecake. That’s right guys, despite my love of all thing no-bake, real cheesecake is actually one of my favorite desserts.
I rarely ever bake a cheesecake for my blog. In fact, other than my Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake, I can’t recall another baked cheesecake recipe I’ve done.
Typically, I shy away from baking cheesecake because they can be a bit labor intensive and the whole water bath thing. Well thankfully I’ve received several tips of the years and it’s not really that intimidating to me any more. Because if I have a crack in my cheesecake, I’m just going to cover it with something yummy.
This Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is also very special because it comes from my talented friend Jocelyn Brubaker from Inside Bru Crew life. She wrote a whole cookbook about CHEESECAKE! Can we say love? No really, it’s called Cheesecake Love.
It was really hard to actually choose a recipe to share because there were SO many mouthwatering recipes to choose from.
This cookbook doesn’t cover just baked cheesecake, it also covers no-bake cheesecake, breakfast cheesecakes (think pastry tarts!), cheesecake cupcakes, cheesecake pies and more! There is definitely something for everyone in here, unless you hate cream cheese. Then we probably can’t be friends.
This book also has a plethora of information of useful tips and tricks and a whole section dedicating to baking acheesecake. I think several of us tend to ask ourselves, “is it done?”. Well Jocelyn directly addresses that too! Here are a few tips she shared:
- Cheesecake usually is under baked when you take it out of the oven. She says to do the wiggle test and if your whole cheesecake is wiggling, it’s probably not done. BUT it’s okay if the center is slightly jiggly
- You need to allow plenty of time for the cheesecake to set and cool.
- One of the reasons your cheesecake cracks is because it’s overbaked.
- Jocelyn claims to be a rebel because she takes the cheesecake out of the oven as soon as the timer goes off. She doesn’t allow it to cool in the oven.
- After 5 minutes, run a knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake because as your cheesecake cools, it shrinks. So, if you can loosen the edges of the cheesecake before it starts to shrink, it will also help prevent the cracking.
This cheesecake, it is a little more labor intensive, but I chose this Caramel Pecan Cheesecake because it has a homemade caramel sauce. I am not one to make caramel sauce very often, but I swear to you, the caramel I made is life changing, I have some leftovers and over the past week, I’ve just straight dipped my spoon in.
Since there is a homemade caramel sauce for the filling you need to plan enough time to make the caramel and let is cool completely. Don’t be discouraged if your caramel seizes and you have to remake it. This happens to everyone! I found that my caramel was most successful when I added the butter before the heavy cream and then VERY slowly drizzle the heavy cream into the hot saucepan.
There are actually 2 different caramel recipes needed for this cheesecake and Jocelyn provided both recipes. However, if you’re short on time, either one can be store bought. I used a combination of both a homemade caramel sauce and a store bought sauce for this cheesecake.
For the filling of the cheesecake, you’ll need a thinner caramel, like the sauce that you would pour over ice cream. Then for the topping you need a thicker caramel sauce. Jocelyn suggested to use the caramel you would need for dipping apple.
The recipe calls for pecans to be sprinkled over top of the cheesecake, but I wanted to add some crushed pecans to the filling itself. I meant to put them on the bottom, but I forgot. So, I sprinkled them over top of the cheesecake before I put it in the oven.
Jocelyn’s recipe didn’t originally call for whipped cream on top, but I just love the way it looks, so I chose to add it.
Make sure you allow plenty of time for all the steps involved in this cheesecake, but trust me when I tell you it’s WORTH it! I got so many compliments on this cheesecake, yes it’s decadent but everyone deserves a dessert like this every once in a while.
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A rich caramel cheesecake with pecans and a homemade salted caramel sauce.
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
- 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup caramel topping (recipe listed below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon caramel extract (or sub vanilla)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
For the topping
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 batch caramel dip (recipe listed below)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Prepare the required caramel sauce prior to making the cheesecake and allow proper time to cool.
- Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the very bottom rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- For the crust: Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the cumbs firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- For the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth.
- Pour in the cream, caramel topping, extracts and flour. Beat until everything is incorporated completely.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Make sure the eggs are fully incorporated, but do not overbeat the batter.
- Add crushed pecans to the bottom of the cheesecake
- Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the prepared crust. Place the pan on the oven rack right above the tray of water. Bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the cheesecake cool for five minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the springform pan.
- Let the cheesecake cool for one hour then refrigerate it for 4 to 6 hours or until completely chilled.
- Detach the springform pan ring and remove the cheesecake from the pan. Slide it onto the serving plate.
- For the topping: Prepare the caramel dip. Stir the pecans into the caramel dip. Spread this mixture on top of the cheesecake right before serving. Add whipped cream if desired. Keep refrigerated.
- Prepare the whipping cream. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until the cream gets bubbly. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe a boarder around the edge of the cheesecake. Keep refrigerated.
- If you refrigerate the cheesecake with the caramel dip on top, the caramel will harden. Run a sharp knife under very hot water. Dry it off and very slowly cut through the caramel so that you do not crush the soft cheesecake. The hot knife will melt the caramel as you cut through.
- Prepare the required caramel sauce prior to making the cheesecake and allow proper time to cool. There are two types of caramel sauce for this recipe. These can be either homemade or store brought. The caramel sauce for the cheesecake filling should be thin like an ice cream topping. The caramel sauce for the topping should be thick like a caramel dip for apples.
- Recipe reprinted with permissions from St. Martin’s Press Cheesecake Love
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
- 1-2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (optional)
- Place the sugar and water in a 3-quart saucepan with high sides. Pick up the pan and rotate it to get the water into all the sugar. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the mixture at all.
- The mixture will begin to bubble. Let the sugar mixture cook for 8-10 minutes more. Again, do not stir the mixture at all while its bubbling.
- The color of the mixture will turn from clear to light amber to golden amber to slightly darker amber. Do not let it get too dark. Make sure you stand there and carefully watch the hot sugar mixture because it can burn very quickly.
- Remove the pan from the heat when the mixture turns darker amber and whisk in the butter very slowly. Once the butter is mixed in, VERY slowly add the cream while whisking constantly. Note the hot sugar will bubble very fiercely when you add the cream but just keep whisking.
- Return the pan to the heat and let the caramel boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan fro the heat and stir in the salt for salted caramel if desired.
- Let the caramel mixture cool before spooning into a jar. Store the caramel in the refrigerator for up to one month. You may need to warm it up slightly in the microwave or allow it to come to room temperature before using.
- For caramel topping: Use 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/3 cup whipping cream in the recipe.
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