Salted Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bars

Source: The Merlin Menu

Salted Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Bon Apetit, June, 2010.

2 1/4 cups graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons melted butter

3 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup Dulce De Leche (available at your grocery store)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup Dulce De Leche
3 tablespoons heavy cream
sea salt or fleur de sel

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Press into lightly greased (spray Pam is fine) 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese and sugar until fully blended. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add Dulce De Leche and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Pour and scrape over crust and spread evenly all the way to the edges of the pan. Bake at 350 for 38 to 42 minutes until filling is puffed, browning, and starting to crack. Remove and let cool.

Heat glaze, combine and spread over baked cream cheese and sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate for an hour.

Now a couple of specifics. Salting the dessert, you want to be careful as it's a fine line to perhaps salt it too much and it's easy not to salt enough. Here's what you do, salt it once, somewhat liberally, and then refrigerate. When you go to cut the squares, test one, and if the saltiness is not enough, salt again. That should be sufficient, and perfect.

Also, a cold cheesecake dish like this with a creamy middle and sticky dulce de leche topping can be difficult to cut cleanly. Here's a method I found that works. One, use a heavy knife or even a dough cutter and run it under hot water, dry with a paper towel, and make one cut through the dessert. Then, run again under hot water, clean off cheesecake crumbs, dry, and make another cut. Continue this way until you've made four to six cuts in the cheesecake. Then, remove a "large square" from the pan and place on cutting board. Again, run hot water over the knife, wipe clean, and now you can cut down directly onto the cheesecake until you have evenly shaped squares that are the size you want. Repeat with the remaining "large" squares in the pan. This way you're not trying to cut even squares inside the pan. Also, this will prevent most of the scattering of crumbs from the cutting process.