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Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Best-Ever Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake from Hometown Cooking 

Prep: 35 Minutes Baking: 50 min Chilling: 4 hrs



2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 50 wafers)
6 Tbsp butter, melted
14 oz vanilla caramels
5 oz evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces, melted and slightly cooled

Optional toppings: whipped cream, chopped pecans, melted semisweet chocolate, chocolate curls, caramel ice cream topping

Crust: Combine crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter.  Press mixture onto bottom and about 2 inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan.  Bake in 350 oven for 10 minutes.  Cool and set aside.
    In medium saucepan, combine caramels and evaporated milk.  Cook and stir over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.  Pour over prepared crust.  Sprinkle with 1 cup pecans.  Chill in refrigerator while preparing filling.

Filling: In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until combined.  Add eggs, beating on low speed just until combined (do not overbeat); stir in melted chocolate.  Pour over caramel-nut layer in pan.
    Bake in 350 oven for about 40 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken.  Cool cheesecake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Loosen from springform pan; cool completely on wire rack.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

   Let cheesecake stand at room temp for about 20 minutes before serving.  Garnish with whipped cream, chopped nuts, melted chocolate and/or chocolate curls and caramel ice cream topping, if desired.  Makes 12 servings.