It was only a matter of time.
Ever since I dipped a spoon into a can of thick, velvety, sticky sweet dulce de leche, I was hooked.
I grew up obsessed with condensed milk, and dulce de leche is really just the darker, more mature version. Dulce de leche is essentially the caramelized version of the condensed milk of my childhood. And once I see the word caramel, I’m a goner.
So it was only a matter of time…
Before I made Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bars.
Cheesecake just seems like the logical next step. I’ve made salted dulce de leche macaroons. And birthday cake with a dulce de leche filling. And I’ve obsessed about banana bread with dulce de leche. Really, I’ve obsessed about any dessert that has dulce de leche.
So a dulce de leche cheesecake just seems… right.
This time, I used a fancier version of dulce de leche (although the Nestle can will always have a special place in my pantry). I bought this jar from Cardullo’s, my favorite gourmet shoppe. If you guys find yourselves in the Harvard Square area, I urge you to check out this charming store right near the center of the Square. They sell specialty foods and beverages around the world – I am partial to their fantastic chocolate bar selection, as well as their cheese section.
This fancy dulce de leche was creamier and sweeter than the canned variety. One day I’ll make a homemade version but for now I am perfectly happy with the ready-made ones.
And these cheesecake bars —
So incredible, that I didn’t feel the need to top them with a sprinkle of sea salt. I just wanted the pure, supple flavors of dulce de leche to shine through.
So incredible, that I felt like the most popular girl at my friend’s party, where I brought these for everyone.
So incredible, that I ate three bars within six hours.
Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bars
(modified from the Bon Appetit recipe)
2 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) salted butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Make the crust. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to a 13x9x2 baking pan (I lined mine with parchment paper and lightly buttered it). Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the filling. Combine cream cheese and sugar and blend until smooth and creamy (you can do this in a food processor, but I just did it manually). Add eggs, dulce de leche, and vanilla. Mix well. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the glaze. Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend. Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled for at least an hour (I made mine a day in advanced so it chilled overnight). Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars.
These cheesecake bars are smooth, sticky, sweet, and oh-so-perfect. Make them soon!