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Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Desserts, Snacks | 10 comments

Salted Caramel and Toffee Cheesecake Brownie Bars

Salted Caramel and Toffee Cheesecake Brownie Bars

My Invisible Crown I’ve seen so much stuff lately all over the internet dealing with salted caramel and bars but not together necessarily.  The drink at Starbucks that I’m hooked on at the moment is salted caramel white chocolate mocha.  I don’t love mocha in my coffee.  Lots of people do but chocolate in my coffee just doesn’t appeal to me.  Neither does white chocolate since white chocolate is such an imposter.  It is NOT chocolate…does not contain chocolate nor does it taste in any way like chocolate!  You may wonder how, since I steer clear of both those ingredients, I ended up being hooked on this drink.  It tastes nothing like white chocolate or mocha but very much like creamy salted caramel and is divine!  That is what inspired today’s post.  Salted Caramel Toffee Cheesecake Brownie Bars!  My sweet BB came up with the toffee part and it worked vey well.  I even took some to the neighbors and I wouldn’t share unless they were phenomenal!  They were.  You should try them.

Normally I don’t make too many things that have this many steps.  And they do have several steps but if you’ve got the time, and want to impress yourself and anyone else who get’s their hands around one, set aside about 45 minutes prep time and get ready to fall in love!

What I like so much about these is that they incorporate lots of my favorite things…salted caramel, toffee or Heath chips, a cheesecake layer and a gooey brownie layer on the bottom. Just the best combination!

I started with this best-ever caramel.  I’m sure most of you know this trick?  The ones of you who don’t will be shocked and maybe a little puzzled but trust me, you’ve never eaten easier or better tasting caramel than this. My Invisible Crown

 Take a can of sweetened, condensed milk and without opening, submerge in a large pot with enough water to cover going a good two inches over the top of the can.  Simmer, covered for 3 full hours.  Pull it out, open and taste.  Amazed?  I know!  I make several at a time because it’s just easy that way.  Around here we eat it on apples and our fingers all year long.  Cheaper and better than store bought caramel. Set that aside…we will use it later.

There are two distinct layers for these bars.  Let’s go over ingredients for the brownie layer.  Make that first so that the chocolate has time to come to room temp.  Plus it’s the bottom layer. My Invisible Crown

I used dark and milk chocolate.  Use what you have and what you like.  The flavor that you’ll get from this combination is just a rich chocolate that is balanced.  I had dark chocolate chips so I didn’t go buy a block.  If you want to save some time you could probably use boxed brownie mix but make sure the cooking time is close to 35 minutes so that your layers cook evenly.  If not, maybe add a little more moisture so they don’t dry out.

My Invisible Crown

I used some light brown sugar and also regular granulated sugar.  No, you aren’t seeing things. Mine is brownish because it’s unbleached organic.

My Invisible Crown

My Invisible Crown

I used two whole eggs and one egg yolk in this layer.  (Everybody is going nuts over moustaches so I thought I’d have a little fun.  Forgive me.)

My Invisible Crown

You’re going to need to melt your chocolate and butter over a simmering water bath.  You really don’t need any special equipment.  Just use a small pot and a medium bowl.

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While your chocolate is cooling, go ahead and start working on the cheesecake layer.  It’s fairly simple. My Invisible Crown

I use greek yogurt always when baking.  It substitutes exactly for sour cream and it’s fat free.  Just make sure you use the plain.  Hey, why not save a little where you can, right?  Once you’ve completed the brownie layer, fill your pan.  I found this cute little pan that makes bars without the cutting.  I got it at my closest WalMart grocery store for less than $10.  If you don’t have one just use a 9×13 inch pan.  Add a sprinkle toffee chips.  They also melt and help the brownie stay moist.

My Invisible Crown

Fill the rest of the way with the cheesecake filling and bake.  Here’s the printable:

Salted Caramel and Toffee Cheesecake Brownie Bars

Brownie Layer

1/2 and 1/8 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

3.5 oz milk chocolate, chopped coarsely or chips

3.5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped or chips

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

1 tablespoon oil

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 granulated sugar

2 whole eggs and 1 yolk

3/4 cup toffee chips, approximately

Cheesecake Layer

2-8 oz packages cream cheese

1/2 and 1/8 cup sugar

1/4 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

Topping

Best Ever Caramel (instructions above)

Sea Salt

 

Butter the sides and bottom of pan and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder and set aside.  Add chocolate and butter to a medium bowl and set over a simmering water bath, stirring occasionally until melted.  Remove from heat and add sugars. Stir to combine and set aside to come to room temperature.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In the meantime, begin your cheesecake layer by mixing the sugar, yogurt and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add your eggs one at a time and beat just until blended.  Always (in any recipe) add your vanilla last and mix by hand.  Vanilla is mostly alcohol and if you add it early it evaporates out in the mixing process.  Go back to the chocolate and add your eggs one by one mixing only until blended.  Make sure it’s at room temperature before you start or you’ll cook the eggs.  Add the flour mixture and stir by hand just until the flour is gone.  You shouldn’t have lumps because you whisked them out earlier.  The more you mix now, the more cake-like your brownies will be and that’s not what we want.  Add the vanilla.  Pour the batter into your pan and smooth it out.  Sprinkle with toffee chips (as heavy a layer as you want but they melted away in mine).  Spoon the cheesecake layer gently onto the toffee chips so as not to disturb.  You want defined layers.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Ovens vary so check it early.  Drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with salt.  Yes, go ahead and pour salt on it.  That’s the salted caramel part.

I used a pink sea salt on the picture at the beginning of this post.  I experimented with other ways.  When cooking cheesecake, the sides rise a little more and you get an indention in the middle.  I filled that with caramel, smoothed it out and sprinkled a smaller grain sea salt.  I prefered this method.  The larger sea salt can be crunchy.  But as always, use what YOU like! My Invisible Crown

What would you like to see made into a dessert bar?  Let me know your thoughts.  This one is my favorite so far!  Enjoy!

10 Comments

  1. That’s how you make caramel?????? I never knew, well I just can’t wait to try these!! When you make several cans at once, do you have to refrigerate them?

    • YES!! Caramel is just “caramelized” sugar or sugar cooked down. This is just a super slow (and super easy) process but it has the added milk which makes it so creamy and wonderful. Other caramel will not be the same now. I do refrigerate them. Not positive if you’re supposed to but just makes sense since they’ve been cooked?

  2. Thanks to you I ventured out on my daily Starbucks this morning. I am drinking a skinny salted caramel white chocolate mocha right now – YUMMY!

    • I LOVE it!!! I’m so glad you like it! I’m hooked on anything and everything salted caramel. Try it iced, too when it’s hot. I like it just as much!

  3. These look AMAZING! Save me one next time you make them? Pretty Please.

    That’s a really cool way to make caramel. Who would’ve thunk it.
    You have an awesome blog. I meant to say that and I haven’t. The blog design is fabulous. One day I am going to actually get mine designed by someone who know what they are doing and trade in my hodgepodge for something a bit nicer. One day.
    ~FringeGirl

    • Oh wow! They were amazing and I rarely say that about things I create from scratch. And the caramel…it couldn’t be easier or better! It’s so creamy! You have to try it and let me know what you think. It’s a staple in my house now.
      Thank you for the kind words. I did have someone design it for me but it didn’t cost nearly as much as you would think. I’m also thinking about a redesign and some blog changes. I’m on the fence right now and it is so confusing! Don’t be hard on that cute blog of yours. It’s simple but that’s a good thing and I love the green!

  4. I can’t wait to try the caramel recipe. I don’t think this method is common knowledge, as I REALLY
    bake and have never seen it. I’ve tried making caramel and it has always turned out grainy or just awful.
    I’ll try the whole thing…Thanks

    • I’m so glad to hear that! :) When I say the best caramel ever, that’s not an exaggeration! Please, please do stop by and let me know what you think? I’m excited to see how you like it. Thanks so much for the comment!!

  5. I have used the caramel recipe before for toppings and pies but never in as creative a way as this! I may try it though I am trying to work off calories. Maybe I’ll make it for a treat for someone else. It is really a creative combination of ingredients. It would be a great finger desert for Thanksgiving. Keep them coming!!!

    • Thanks “Nanny”! Read the post for the Sweet Potato Gratin.

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