Gingerbread-Caramel Cheesecake Bars

img_5248A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe for a gingerbread-caramel sauce.  I kept thinking… yum… but what could I use it for other then ice-cream (not the most appealing dessert for this time of year, especially, in Vermont).  This led me into thinking about other creamy desserts which in turn led me to…. cheesecake…

Gingersnap Crust

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of Gingersnaps
  • 1/2 cup (1 sticks) melted Butter

img_5157Directions:

  1. Line a 9″x 13″ baking dish in aluminum foil.  Once the bars are baked you should be able to use the foil to help lift the bars out of the baking dish to facilitate cutting them.
  2. Grease the aluminum foil to minimize sticking – especially, along the sides of the baking dish.
  3. Grind the gingersnaps up in a food processor as if you were making a graham cracker crust.
  4. Once the gingersnaps are finely ground, gradually pour the melted butter into the food processor while continuing to pulse the mixture.  The mixture should eventually start to clump and come together.
  5. Press the gingersnap curst into the bottom of the foil lined baking dish.

Cheesecake Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (or 2 8oz packages) Cream Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • Zest from 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream the cream cheese until light and softened.
  3. Add the sour cream.
  4. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, flour, and salt.
  5. While continuing to beat the cream cheese, add the eggs one at a time until uniformly combined.
  6. Gradually beat in the maple syrup.
  7. Pour and gently spread the cheesecake filling over the gingersnap crust.
  8. Bake the bars for about 35 – 40 minutes.
  9. Allow the bars to cool fully, and refrigerate them for a few hours before applying the topping.

Gingerbread-Caramel Topping

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2016.  This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of topping – more then you will need for this one recipe.  I already halved the original recipe which is for 5 cups of caramel.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  •  1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup cold diced Butter
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground Ginger

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan (your syrup will boil up so you want to use a pan with plenty of room. cleaning burnt sugar off of your stove top is never fun), combine the molasses, brown sugar, and water.
  2. Once the sugar has fully melted, bring the syrup to a boil.
  3. Continue to cook and stir the syrup until the foam and bubbles begin to recede (~ 5 minutes) and the firm-ball stage is obtained.
  4. Remove the syrup from the heat and slowly whisk in the remaining ingredients.  Be careful – the syrup is likely to splatter and will still be hot.
  5. Continue to whisk the caramel until the butter is fully melted and incorporated.
  6. Allow the sauce to cool.  Tip: If you make the sauce while the bars are baking the sauce and the bars can both cool over the same few hours.

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars

Directions for assembly:

  1. Once the sauce has completely cooled, drizzle it over the cooled cheesecake bars.
  2. Sprinkle thinly sliced candied ginger evenly on top of gingerbread-caramel covered bars.
  3. Allow the bars to set in the refrigerator for a couple more hours or overnight.
  4. Lift the bars from the pan, and slice them evenly with a sharp knife.  You may have to pause between every few slices to make sure the knife is clean.  Use the knife to cut downwards instead of across.

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