Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cheesecake Bites-Nutty Nirvana Nuggets

This is one of those recipes that is all tattered and spotted with chocolate and caramel.  One that gets tucked into a cookbook for months and then you stumble across it and remember how easy and delicious it is. I don't remember who gave me this recipe, but I thank them silently every time I make these.  Today  I was organizing my cookbooks and this recipe fell out of one of my books, just begging to be baked .  A simple cookie crust, a nutty pecan and caramel layer then topped with a cheesecake batter. Bake it and glaze it.  It takes more time to line the pans !  And half the fun of applying the glaze is all the chocolate you get to lick off your spatula and fingers when the dipping is finished. Serve this and your friends and family will think you slaved for hours in the kitchen.  It's not that you are trying to fool them -really you aren't , but you will take your little bows and graciously acknowledge yes thank you -yes they are delicious and addictive.  

Wouldn't it be nice if life were so easy to deal with.  Maybe if we all made something delicious for our neighbor or someone at work, or a stranger on  the street it would bring a smile to their face and they would do something sweet for the next person, more smiles, more paying it forward-a nicer sweeter world.  I can dream can't I?  Make a batch of these and share with someone who doesn't expect it, and then watch the smile on their face.  Bon Appetit my sweets.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Bites
Makes 24-36 depending on how small you slice them

1 1/4 cups finely crushed chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter-melted

20 caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy creme
1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
8 oz softened creme cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg-room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream

Chocolate Glaze
2 cups of your favorite chocolate chips or chopped chocolate-I used bittersweet because it's my favorite
1/4 cup of unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with double thickness of aluminum foil, extending foil over ends of pan. Spray foil with no-stick cooking spray. Combine all crust ingredients in small bowl. Press onto bottom of prepared pan.

Combine caramels and creme in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving 30 seconds; stir until smooth. Pour over crust in pan. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate while preparing cream cheese mixture.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating just until combined. Stir in sour cream. Pour over caramel mixture.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until just set 2 inches from edge of pan. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Loosely cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours. Lift cheesecake from pan using foil ends. Cut into 36 squares.

Place cooling rack over large piece of waxed paper on counter. Combine chocolate chips and shortening in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth (4 to 5 minutes). Pierce each cheesecake square with fork. Spoon chocolate over top and sides of each cheesecake square, letting excess chocolate drip back into pan. Place onto cooling rack. Let stand about 20 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Store refrigerated.

PS. Voting for Project Food Blog Round 2 ends September 30th at 6:00PM PST, vote here, please !


bellini valli said...

These really are the piece de resistance Sandy!!

Mariko said...

Wow, those look heavenly. YUM.

Cristina said...

These are decadent-layered deliciousness! I'm thinking perfect sweet treats for parties and holiday gifts. I like those little papers you've set them in.

Lisa said...

These would be the perfect little gifts to give away at Christmastime. I think people would go crazy for them.