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Celebrate with Cheesecake!

Ah, cheesecake, how we love to eat you!  It doesn't matter what kind or flavor, we're always ready for cheesecake in our home.  From the big to the small, we all like it the same.  As a matter of fact, when I was pregnant with Taylor (our middle child)  my oldest daughter Sydney, and I would frequent the local Cheesecake Factory on Saturday mornings.  It was a regular pig-out fest.  I would order a piece of cheesecake with extra whip cream on the side and a hot chocolate, and she would have a brownie ice cream sundae with a tall glass of milk.  Those were the days!

Despite our love for cheesecake, however, we had never made a homemade one in our own kitchen.  Of course, I've watched them make it on TV cooking shows, but I never really thought about making one at home (unless it was a Jello® no-bake).  So the other day when I was brainstorming cakes for Jeremy's 34th Birthday, I decided a cheesecake would be perfect! 

For birthdays, we traditionally go with a white or chocolate cake with butter cream icing, but this year we decided to mix it up.  Jeremy LOVES cheesecake and he's old enough for something a little different.  Besides, cheesecake would be a lot less hassle in the kitchen, and there would be no icing to make (or to clean up).

After careful consideration, the girls and I decided to make the Praline Cheesecake with Hot Fudge Caramel Sauce.  Jeremy's a big fan of Heath® candybars and chocolate, so this one was perfect!  It was so delicious that it would rival even the best of cheesecakes.  The crunch of the toffee and pecans combined with the silkiness of the filling is just awesome (almost indescribable).  And despite the fact that I had never made one before, it turned out incredible!

To make this recipe, you will need a 10" springform pan (the one with the little latch on the side and a removable bottom).  You can find them just about anywhere you'd find baking pans.  I found mine at Sur La Table for $11.

To prepare the pan for baking, gently grease only the sides with vegetable shortening.  I like to put a little bit on a paper towel and rub it along the side...

Now that your pan is ready, you can begin on the crust.  To make the graham crumbs, I put a few large graham crackers in a food processor and pulsed until they became crumbs.

Now stir the crumbs with butter, brown sugar, and pecans.

Dump the crust mixture into the pan, and press it along the bottom and side with your fingertips.

Bake the crust at 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly. 

While the crust is still hot, sprinkle 1/2 cup of the toffee bits onto it.  I strongly believe this and the pecans in the crust make this recipe.  I didn't try it, but I imagine a fork and this crust would make me happy as is!

Ah, that's the perfect crust!

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar with a mixer.

Next, add the eggs and continue to mix until the filling is smooth.

Filling's ready!

Gently pour the filling into the pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 65-70 minutes or until the top begins to brown slightly.  To keep the center from cracking, I wrapped the springform pan with foil (along the bottom).  I then placed the springform pan into a larger pan and added about an inch of water to the bottom of the big pan.  By doing this, it's supposed to help keep the cheesecake moist.  And while I'd never made a cheesecake, I figured I'd try that technique.

When the top (and edges) begin to brown, remove the cheesecake from the oven.  It took 70 minutes for mine to brown...

Using a knife or spatula, gently remove the cheesecake from the sides of the pan.  Running a spatula along the edge works well.

While the cheesecake is still hot, sprinkle on more toffee bits.  I used toffee bits with milk chocolate, and it was oh-so-good!

Sprinkle on more pecans, and let it rest for at least an hour.  Refrigerate it for 3 to 4 hours.

To make the hot fudge caramel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan.

Now add in the brown sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup.  Bring it to a boil, and allow it to boil for 3 minutes. 

While the caramel sauce is boiling, chop the chocolate into small pieces (for easy melting).

Add the chocolate to the caramel sauce, and stir gently.  Stir in the vanilla, and remove from heat.  Pour the sauce into a microwavable dish, and allow it to cool slightly.  Cover and refrigerate it until ready to serve.  To warm the sauce, microwave it on High in 30-second intervals until the sauce is warm.

There's a slice of heaven!  This cheesecake was so yummy, we decided to share some of it with neighbors.  They all raved and said I was an awesome baker.  While that's probably true (wink-wink), I let them in on my little secret.  It was the Praline Cheesecake with Hot Fudge Caramel Sauce recipe from Land O'Lakes.  Now they can all make it, too.  Two thumbs up on this recipe for sure!!!

Jeremy and his birthday treat...What a great way to celebrate his special day!

Please rate and review Praline Cheesecake with Hot Fudge Caramel Sauce.

There's still a lot of summer left, why not try making an ice cream sandwich big enough to serve a crowd, check out the next blog to see how it's done.

Julie is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz™ Blog.

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Amy, Glad you liked this cheesecake recipe! When we developed and tested this recipe in the Test Kitchens it disappeared quickly, too. It is fun when you find a "go-to" recipe like this one.

Posted Dec 02 2010 by Cindy

This recipe is amazing! This is my hubby's favorite dessert and he hates cheesecake! Made one for Thanksgiving with his family and we came home with one little piece. I will be making this regularly!

Posted Dec 01 2010 by Amy

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