For a while, Dulce de Leche was virtually unknown in much of the States until it became all the rage years ago. If you’ve never had it, Dulce de Leche is rich, spoonable caramelly goodness and you buy it, usually in a can. Dulce de Leche can be used in all kinds of ways, but here Dulce de Leche is spread on top of a cheesecake base for these delish Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars. Oh, yes, please! Finish these with a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel to add a bit of spark. Umhmm!
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars have long been on my “to do” list of must make items, ever since I saw them in Bon Appetit years ago. I wish I would have made them before – all that wasted time, lol!
About Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars:
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars are a fun, easier to make (no special pan needed) cheesecake option. They’re a bit addictive, especially with the little sprinkle of Fleur de Sel added just before serving, which I forgot to add before taking pictures! See the flavors of caramel and cream cheese are great together but all that creaminess can seem a bit dull. It’s the Fleur de Sel (which is a flakey sea salt) that really punches these bars up. If you’ve had Salted Caramel, you know how just a touch of that salt makes it zing and it does the same for these bars.
The bars are very rich, so cut them into small squares as directed. I love it when the edges of bars need to be trimmed; cook’s snack, lol! You will probably want to trim up and serve these bars already cut. They look gorgeous cut but when they’re in the pan, you’ll notice every imperfection, a few bubbles here and there and some rolling waves across the surface from spreading the caramel. All those little imperfections seem more noticeable when looking at the whole pan of bars.
The Dulce de Leche bars are easy to pick up and eat and caramel on the bars remains soft which is super delish, just know that you can’t stack these.
Making Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars:
The Dulce de Leche Cheesecake bars are super easy to make, but just in case this happens to you, know that I was totally freaked when I made them the first time. The cheesecake base it seemed acted very strangely – it puffed up alarmingly in the center.
I just left it in the oven until the center felt a little firm to the touch. The top of the cheesecake was also golden brown, something I’m not used to seeing when I make cheesecake. Once the cheesecake was out of the oven it settled into a nice, even, flat layer. So just soldier through and trust the recipe.
The crumbs from whole graham crackers are a cinch to make in a food processor but if you don’t have one (or don’t want to dirty yours, although the cheesecake filling can be done in it, too) just put your graham crackers into a large Ziploc bag, break them up a little and then roll over them with a rolling pin or similar item. You can mix the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter right in the Ziploc and not dirty a bowl.
Saving Money on Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars:
Remember that cream cheese keeps for weeks in the fridge and can be frozen – I stock up when I see it on holiday sales, usually, it’s about 1/2 price. Graham cracker crumbs are less expensive if you make your own by crushing whole graham crackers, and whole graham crackers go on sale more often than crumbs.
If you’re near a Mexican market, Dulce de Leche is usually going to be found at a much more reasonable price than you’ll see at your grocery store.
If you can’t find it in your area, make your own Dulce de Leche. It’s a super easy make in the crockpot thing to do – it just takes time. Drop a couple of cans of condensed milk in the slow cooker, labels and all, in the evening, and just let that slow cooker do it’s thing overnight. It’s magic!! I have a post on Homemade Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche if you’d like a little more information.Print
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
- Total Time: 30 minutes plus chill
- Yield: 24 bars 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: American
- Nonstick spray
- 2 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers (from about 17 crackers)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 tablespoons melted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
- 3 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Dulce de Leche (store-bought or home-made) at room temperature (you’ll use the remainder for the topping)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Topping & Finishing:
- about 2/3 cup Dulce de Leche (this was remainder of can)
- 3 or more tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Fleur de Sel
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan (a glass pan works fine) with nonstick spray. (Line pan if desired, with foil and then spray the foil for easier removal.)
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
Blend cream cheese and sugar in a food processor (recipe works fine made with a mixer) until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add dulce de leche and blend until incorporated.
Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add vanilla, process until blended, about 10 seconds.
Dollop batter across cooled crust and nudge and spread into an even layer. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked about 38 minutes. Check the center, although puffed, it should feel slightly firm to the touch. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
Topping & Finishing:
Mix dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl (cream may not totally mix in) and microwave for 10 seconds. Gently stir. Continue to microwave in 10-second intervals until melted.
Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche).
Pour over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. This topping will not be firm.
Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel right before serving.
Note: The topping seems to always have a few small lumps which are hardly noticeable when the bars are cut. You may wish to cut ahead if looks matter.
Keywords: Brownies & Bars, Caramel, Cheesecake, Cream, Cream Cheese, Desserts, Dulce de Leche, fleur de Sel, Graham Crackers
You know I’ll share Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars to our Throwback Thursday #38 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me! Click over to our latest Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!