One of the authors I like to read, and find consistently good, is Sherryl Woods. Recently I read one of her books and it had a recipe in the back. She is not one of the "murders with recipes" that I read, but more of relationship/women's fiction kind of author. She has put together a book of recipes, but this one was in the back of one of my recent reads and I decided to give it a try. It was really good and my guests liked it, but now they are gone and I need to send the rest of the bars off to the library. Or SOMEWHERE where I can't eat them.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
1 1/4 cups finely crushed Marias cookies (or vanilla wafers or graham crackers)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (almost) 14 oz. can dulce de leche They now come in 13.5 oz. cans. sheesh
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13X9 baking dish. Set aside.
The easiest way for me to crush cookies is to put them in a gallon Ziploc, squeeze out the air and smash them with a rolling pin and then roll any big pieces to dust. I used the whole package of Maria cookies. It came to 1 1/2 cups so I added a bit more butter and just used the whole amount.
Melt the butter and mix with the crushed cookies in a medium bowl.
Place the mix in the prepared pan and press them until evenly distributed on the bottom.
Bake for 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. When you remove the dish, leave the oven at 350°.
Cream together the cream cheese and the sugar. The easiest way to do this is a stand mixer. I use a Kitchen Aid. Add the eggs and continue to beat away. Add the vanilla and salt and blend well.
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the hot crust.
Heat the dulce de leche until very hot and drizzle it over the cream cheese mixture.
Use a skewer or tip of a knife to swirl it into the cheesecake layer.
Cover the dish tightly with foil.
Place it in a large roasting pan. Add boiling water to the roasting pan until water comes up halfway on the side of the baking dish. Be careful no to overfill and get the water in the cheesecake dish.
You may want to do this very close to the oven. It is hard to carry this across to the oven from the other side of the kitchen. You shouldn't ask me how I know this.
Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven. CAREFULLY lift the baking dish out of the roasting pan and place on a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature. The dulce de leche seemed to disappear. It just sank in. Don't worry. It's in there.
Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cut into squares.
Make sure you have people that are willing to take the left overs home. My guests refused, saying something about the long drive and the hot car. But that is no excuse. Now I have most of a pan of delicious bars. I need more neighbors!