Monday, October 29, 2012

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars and My (Second Place) Winning Costume

If you're like most adults still clinging to a semblance of the joy of youth and the excitement it brings on October 31st, you probably celebrated Halloween this weekend. If you're like most adults who pride themselves on winning costume contests based in pop culture references (i.e., me), then you probably went as King Jareth, the Goblin King from The Labyrinth.
{See more pictures, including a close up of my "junk" on the CupcakesOMG! Facebook page!}

If you were here last year, you'll remember that I took home the grand prize at our favorite dive bar's annual Halloween costume contest, which meant I had a reputation to uphold. Between my fingertip gloves, metallic leggings, crystal ball, and "junk" I was certain to reign supreme again! Color me surprised when I came in second (the winners were a couple dressed as retired Floridian tourists...I know, I don't get it either!), but considering how obnoxious I was at the bar, it's a miracle they awarded me anything, so I'll take it!! 
{I was emotionally scarred as a child by David Bowie's prominent package in the movie. I can only assume I emotionally scarred Kyle by including this prop in my costume.}

For the second year in a row, our friends Ashlee and Franz have hosted the Halloween party for our friends, so naturally I took it as an opportunity to try a new recipe for Fleur de Sel salted Dulce de Leche caramel cheesecake bars:
I've never had dulce de leche on its own before, only in other desserts. It's like the caramel version of Nutella, in that it's addictive and can be enjoyed with merely a spoon. Or a finger. I'm not here to judge.
I've also never made a cheesecake before, but the recipe I used was really simple and removed all the intimidation from it!
I had to go to Williams Sonoma to find Fleur de Sel (what's up with that Whole Foods?), and it was well worth it. If you're into salty/sweet, you need to get your hands on some Fleur de Sel and Dulce de Leche STAT!!!
My costume might have only been worthy of second place, but these salted caramel cheesecake bars earn first place every time!
What did you dress up as this Halloween? Do you love Dulce de Leche??? 

I used a 9x13 pan (I mentioned I used a rectangular pan but apparently this is open for interpretation). 
Also, dulce de leche is a delicious caramely type sauce. If you can't find it, you can make your own by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk. I didn't do that, so I don't have the recipe for that, but I'm sure you can, um, look for it on Pinterest also. 
And finally, YES! You should shell out the $10 for the fleur de sel--it has a delicate and pure flavor that other salts just won't match, but if you're in a real pinch and just can't be bothered, I guessssssssssss sea salt would do. But get the sea salt flakes at least, would ya???

Fleur de Sel Salted Dulce De Leche Caramel Cheesecake Bars
Recipe Adapted from Made with Pink
Makes about 15 bars

For the Crust

  • 2 1/4 cups ground graham crackers (about 1 and a half sleeves of grackers)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 10 Tbsp. melted butter
Cheesecake Filling
  • 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Caramel Topping
  • 2/3 cup dulce de leche
  • 2-3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp. caramel sauce (the good stuff in a jar, not that runny syrup junk)
  • Fleur de sel*
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large rectangular pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine the crust ingredients in a medium bowl until the crust comes together, kind of like wet sand. Press crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack while you make the filling.
3. Beat cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at time, beating each one until it's incorporated before adding the next one. Add dulce de leche and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated. Pour batter onto crust and spread even. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until center is just set and edges are puffy and slightly cracked and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before topping with caramel.
4. Pour dulce de leche and whipping cream into a glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval, until the whipping cream is well combined with the dulce de leche. Add caramel sauce and stir until well combined. The topping should be pourable, but not runny. 
5. When cheesecake bars are cooled, pour caramel topping all over the bars and spread evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow caramel to set well. Cut into squares and *top with fleur de sel right before serving!


Unknown said...

I just died over your costume. The fact that you have the abnormally enlarged package should have won you first place alone! Not gonna like I still can't watch this movie due to David Bowie's junk.

Jenna | The Eighty Twenty said...

I'm glad you put the recipe second. I was scarred by your package, but redeemed by your dulce de amazingness. You are so freaking creative.

Unknown said...

Holy crap, you were ROBBED! Fantastic costume.

Meg O. said...

SECOND place?!!!!?!?!!? That is crap!!! I think the bulge is the icing on the cake. The cheesecake bars look amazing too.

Gayla said...

Well, I knew you watched that movie over and over...I had NO IDEA it was porn! You watched a lot of old episodes of "The Golden Girls", too...what unanticipated effect did that have on you?
Your costume was amazing, and you were robbed!

when we wander said...

Your costume should've won over Floridian tourists hands down! And caramel cheesecake OMG! I die.

Unknown said...

Love the costume! The food looks amazing



Jillian said...

First of all, those bars look ah-mazing! I die.

Secondly, how did you NOT win first? That costume is awesome, made even more fabulous by the bulge. I mean, seriously. A+!

Jareth is one of my favorite movie characters of all time. I always imagined I was the one slow dancing with him while As The World Falls Down played.

Megan | Freckled Italian said...

I LOVE DULCE DE LECHE. It's pretty much the best thing ever!

Lydia Armstrong said...

I love your junk.

Erin @ Currently Coveting said...

This is hilarious! I think my boyfriend would freak if I rocked a package all night though haha. Your cheesecake bars look delectable!


Smartificial Sweetener said...

Single best costume I've ever seen. David Bowie's genitals were traumatic to an entire generation of children. In a good way?

Anonymous said...

Bwahaha! Amazing costume! I too was emotionally scarred by the package! (not helped by my older sister pointing it out EVERY time we watched the film.....and we watched it ALOT! Lol) great recipe too, thanks! Jen x

Anonymous said...

Can you just buy dulce de leche in the regular grocery stores? If so, what part of the store do they sell it in?

Michelle M said...

Dulce de leche is in the Hispanic foods section of grocery stores.

Awesome costume... no doubt you were robbed. I'm making the bars for Thanksgiving Day dessert! Even went all the way to WS to get the fleur de sil (which I asked for specifically and the sales lady looked at me like I was nuts... then I asked for fancy salt to make salted caramels). I even got their fancy jarred caramel... set me back $20 for both but should be well worth it! Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Can you let me know the size of the pan you used?? I'm going to make these on Wednesday. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Is a 9x13 pan ok to use? Also, did you use pure or imitation vanilla? I am making these for one of our Thanksgiving desserts!

Anonymous said...

Can I use kosher salt instead of fleur de sol?

Reyhan said...

holy sinful goodness!

Ashley said...

Also wondering what size pan to use?? Any suggestions?

Unknown said...

OMG, I just found your blog and I love, love,love your sense of humor! You had me cracking up and your cheesecake bars look amazing.

Mei said...

Those caramel cheesecake things look AMAZING!!!
And, I freaking love Labyrinth!

Schwebetürenschrank said...

Wow, these bars look amazing. This caramel looks mouthwatering! Ahhhh, and I love your style. :-)

Unknown said...

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars were a huge hit in my house tonight. I am lactose intolerant so I ate none, yet my husband and neice were in heaven. I think Jim's eyes rolled into the back of his head, Keep the yummy recipes coming. :) Glad to find you on Pinterest. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Can these be frozen??

Wendy said...

Labyrinth is my favorite childhood movie. I have it on DVD and my husband just doesn't understand it. I made these today (well, mostly last night) and they are so yum. I haven't ever made cheesecake anything and was a little afraid they wouldn't turn out. But they did! And they were awesome! I even shelled out the $15 for the fleur de sel (and drove 30 minutes one way!) but I used boiled in the can sweetened condensed milk for the caramel part.

Puggleperson said...

Wow! I pinned this for the recipe and also got to see the coolest (should have been 1st place) costume!

Anonymous said...

Just finished making these as a gift to myself for mother's day. I knew they would be amazing and they are. Cheesecake and caramel are two of my favorite things ever. I really love cream cheese and a pure cream cheese taste to my cheesecake so I will add less Dulce De Leche to the cheesecake layer next time and just enjoy it in the topping as an accent. After tasting the cheesecake, I only made half the topping which was a perfect amount for me. The only quality sauce I could find was a chocolate caramel and sea salt sauce. It worked great. Thanks for the 5 star recipe!

Unknown said...

Going to make these!

Mary said...

I have to admit, the package was almost the first thing I saw in the photo! I am dying laughing! Back to the caramel bars, I can't wait to try them!

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