What a crazy birthday!! We had a massive storm, a “Nor’easter”, that was so freaky it was scary! It hailed for literally HOURS, lightning, explosive rolling thunder that shook the house for hours on end, followed by more hail mixed with snow. I was sick as a dog, running a nasty fever with a TERRIBLE sore throat and felt like death warmed over. But. BUT. My hubby made me a cheesecake, (I played sous chef guiding him along), and I managed to cook one the best, (simple), birthday steak dinners we’ve ever tasted! But by far, this Salted Caramel Milky Way Cheesecake was the shining star!
My favorite dessert in the world is a great cheesecake. Not fluffy, to me that’s not really cheesecake at all. It must be real, “New York-style”, cheesecake. Period. Cheesy-rich, lightly sweet and tart at the same time, and firm yet still creamy. Yes. I am a cheesecake snob.
And if you try and serve me instant “cheesecake” – – I will take that as a sign that I must not mean that much to you. Especially on my birthday.
Cheesecakes really aren’t hard to make at all! The ingredients are very basic, and with a little practice, you can venture out to create some quite amazing flavors!
So let me teach you how to make the real deal!
Everything good must start with a good foundation. And since this cheesecake has a “caramel” theme, I chose to use light brown sugar in this recipe versus regular white sugar.
Just three simple ingredients, (butter, graham cracker crumbs, and brown sugar), come together easily and perfectly for the crust. Mix it up, spray your springform pan, add your crumb mixture and press evenly on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.
The crust will then get lightly covered with chopped Caramel Milky Ways. But don’t chop them and add them until you have the batter made. (*This is just an “in order of assembly photo” to show you how to add everything and what it should like like.)
Because I was so sick that day, I didn’t get photos of every single step. The batter is just creamy and the easy-to-follow directions are below in my recipe. But you just pour the batter over the candies on the crust up to almost the top. Leave a half inch of space is all.
Then place your cheesecake onto a large sheet of foil, bring up the sides and press the foil to the sides of the pan. Place the pan into a roaster and nuke a pitcher of water in the microwave until boiling, then slowly pour the boiling water into the pan around the cheesecake until the water lever comes halfway up the sides of the pan.
Pop the cheesecake into the oven and bake according to my directions.
Then, when the time is up, open the door, count to 5, shut the door, and let it sit in the oven another hour. The cheesecake will continue to cook and the temperature will lower slowly so that there will be none to few cracks at all.
(*And the cheesecake will be perfectly evenly baked.)
I am SO SORRY that I didn’t (again) get a shot of it when it came out of the oven and cooled. It was perfect. Not one crack at all! And such a beautiful color.
But once the cheesecake has cooled completely, and refrigerated overnight, you’ll then top this with a semi-homemade caramel sauce and chill again to set the sauce.
Lastly, comes the removal of the springform ring. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, so I didn’t notice how HARD my hubby had packed that crust! (Omg…) Just lightly press the crumbs against the side of the pan is all you need to do.
If you, too, had a heavy hand doing this, you’ll have your work cut out for you.
But either way, you’ll need to run a sharp knife around the edge, (be it a simple run-around…or resemble the infamous shower scene in “Psycho”, stabbing it endlessly all the way around), in-between the crust and the side of the pan so when you release the ring, it won’t take the crust with it.
I finally got it, and I think I sweated out my fever to boot!!!
The next trick ‘n tip is also very important. The caramel topping was VERY sticky and wanted to cling to the knife horrifically. It was a NIGHTMARE to try and cut.
But I wasn’t going to let a silly little cheesecake outwit me.
I simply wiped the knife clean again, sprayed each side with butter-flavored no-stick spray, and it sliced like a dream after that.
(*The first piece was a disaster…but it still tasted good!)
So remember this trick!!
And it was the stickiest the first day only. A tad sticky the second day, and then after that I didn’t even need to spray the knife at all. So there ya go.
Once you have your serving slices on plates, these gorgeous hunks of deliciousness get a double dose of extra fun and yumminess!!
You will have extra candy bars left, so I chopped one of the fun-sized bars per slice and piled the pieces on top.
Then sprinkled each with a pinch of kosher salt!!
That salt. I’m tellin’ ya. It just adds so much extra flavor itself, and brings out the flavors of everything else! So don’t skip this last finishing touch!!
And there we have it!!
COME. TO. MAMA. GORGEOUS. !!!
This cheesecake was truly outstanding, and my hubby did such a wonderful job making it for me!!! I am SO PROUD of him!!!
And we had so much fun baking together in the kitchen!
Though the weather was beyond bad, and I was in horrific shape myself, I actually had a most wonderful birthday! GREAT food, INCREDIBLE dessert, and time well spent with the love of my life, my hubby Tom!
Thank you for making my birthday the best ever, Tom!! Love you with all my heart!! 🙂 ♥
(*We did this in one day, being up and at ’em before 4am, due to the storm and fearing we’d lose power and had to be prepared. But this cheesecake should normally be chilled overnight. Ours chilled at least 10 hours on the bottom shelf of our VERY cold garage fridge and was fine.)
- For Crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 Tbl. light brown sugar
- 1 stick real butter, melted (*I use Minerva Dairy Amish Butter)
- For Cheesecake Filling:
- 4 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, room temp
- 1½ cups light brown sugar
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup thick sour cream, I like Daisy’s
- ⅓ cup salted caramel sauce such as Godiva or Ghirardelli
- 3 Tbl. Buttershots Liqueur
- 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup flour
- 8 mini or fun-sized Milky Way candies, sliced lengthwise then cut into eighths
- For Salted Caramel Top:
- 24 Kraft caramels, unwrapped
- 1½ Tbl. heavy cream
- Finishing Garnish:
- more sliced or chopped Caramel Milky Ways (1 chopped fun sized candy bar per slice)
- pinch of kosher salt per slice
- For Crust:
- In small pan, add butter and melt. Stir in brown sugar and graham crumbs. Stir until well mixed. Spray the inside of a 9″ springform pan well with butter-flavored cooking spray. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of pan and halfway up sides. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- For Cheesecake Filling:
- In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Scrape sides, paddle and bottom and beat again. Starting on low speed, blend in heavy cream. (Turn up speed once it’s safe to not splatter.) Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just mixed. *You don’t want to whip them and create air. Scrape all and beat again.
- Beat in sour cream, caramel sauce, liqueur, vanilla and flour until smooth. Scrape paddle, sides and bottom of bowl, and beat again. Sprinkle chopped Caramel Milky Way candies evenly on bottom of crust. Pour cheesecake batter slowly into 9 or 10 inch springform pan evenly over candies to within a ½" from the top of the pan.
- Tear a large sheet of foil off, and set pan onto center. Press foil up sides of pan. Place into large roaster. (Big enough to hold pan level.)
- Open oven and place onto rack that puts cheesecake in the center of your oven. Fill roaster with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Close door and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- When time is up, turn off oven, open door briefly (about 5 seconds), close door and leave in oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven to a rack to cool. When completely cooled down, cover top of pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, make Caramel Topping. Place unwrapped caramels into microwave-safe bowl, add cream. Nuke until melted, stirring every minute, until mixture is fully combined and creamy. Pour immediately over cheesecake in center to within ½ inch of the edge. Chill again for 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, run a knife around edge to loosen, and pop open springform ring. Remove ring and place cheesecake onto plate or serving stand. Garnish each slice with more chopped Caramel Milky Ways and a pinch of kosher salt.
- *IMPORATANT SLICING TIP!: So that caramel sauce on top does not stick to knife, spray each side of knife with butter-flavored no-stick spray, make one cut, quickly clean off knife, spray again, then make a second cut. (*You way want 2 knives sprayed and ready as first piece may be difficult to get out quickly.) As cheesecake ages, the caramel will be easier to slice, but still requires the knife to be sprayed for easy slicing.