February 16, 2012

Praline Cheesecake Bites!

Posted by Ethne~

As promised, I made and devoured the praline cheesecake over the weekend for when Whit and Lor were here.  Remember the mini post from a week or so ago (here) where I ate the best cheesecake EVER?  I dogged my co-worker until she brought the recipe in for me.  She was happy to share, but I put her on a tight recipe-sharing schedule.  In other words, I demanded it STAT.  Love ya KS!  [As if KS wasn't awesome enough, she is also the leader of the Twilight coven I belong to.  She is named Bella in my cell phone directory.  If not for her, I'd never have met sweet Edward when I did.]

KS and TS in Hawaii, or as I like to think of this pic: Isle Esme
I add this pic anytime Edward is mentioned.  You're welcome.

One beauty of this cheesecake is the crust.  It’s not the graham cracker crust, which I could leave out of any cheesecake.  My preferred crust is made with finely chopped nuts and butter.  I’ll make that one of these days and tell you how I do it.  THIS CRUST, though, is shortbread.  Exactly like the Russian teacake cookies I devour at Christmastime.  Awesomely, it’s my same friend, KS, who makes those.  There’s usually a trail of powdered sugar behind me around work when she brings those in.  Not kidding.

The topping is a homemade caramel praline sauce.  [You had me at topping.]  But you could top it with anything you wanted, or leave topping-less if you wanted.  I won’t likely mess with caramel-y success.

Probably the most ingenious part of all is this cheesecake is cooked in your standard 9 x 13” pan.  So you don’t need to bake it in a springform pan or use a water bath.

So here’s the scoop, pried out of generously shared by KS.

{Praline Cheesecake Bites}

Prep: 40 min.
Bake: 35 min.

Makes about 24 servings.  [Who am I kidding? 12 servings.]

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 T. powdered sugar
1 cup butter, melted
3 8-oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped pecans
1-1/2 t. vanilla extract

(1) Preheat oven to 350°.  In large bowl, combine flour, 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans, and powdered sugar.  Stir in melted butter.

NOTE: The pre-chopped pecans were more expensive at the grocery store than the whole pecans.  LUNACY.  So I bought the whole pecans and chopped them myself.  Seriously, 10 seconds of elbow grease saved me 50¢.

(2) Press mixture onto bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking pan.  The mixture was kind of crumbly, but I pressed it around the pan bottom until there weren’t any open spaces.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is set and lightly browned around edges.

(3) Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs; beat well.  Beat in sweetened condensed milk, granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Pour mixture over cooked crust.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set (mine needed a few extra minutes until the center wasn’t jiggly anymore.)  If you insert a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean, as with all cakes.  Cool in pan on wire rack.


(4) For topping: in medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and whipping cream.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat.

I didn't chop these very small

(5) Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla.  Pour topping over cheesecake.  Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.  Cut into small bars.


This kept in the fridge for about 1 week, no prob.  Enjoy!

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