Caramelized White Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Bakingyummies

Do you love dark chocolate? I mean only dark chocolate? or at the most milk chocolate? Then all of us (yeah including me) belong to the following category - dark chocolate fanatics. These are human species that dislike and even detest white chocolate for the simple reason that there's nothing chocolatey about the white one, a very very distant brother or sister, or whatever, of dark chocolate. White Chocolate should not even be called Chocolate is what I have always believed.

So after blabbering against white chocolate, why have I used it in this recipe? Well, did you the read the title properly? It's not just white chocolate. It's Caramelized White Chocolate.




There's one attribute of white chocolate that makes it as drool worthy as it's milk and dark counterpart; and that is it's ability to get caramelized, something that dark and milk chocolate lack. You see, white chocolate is all sugar and cocoa butter (an off putting aspect for dark chocolate fans) and since it is sugar that caramelizes, it's not possible to achieve this with any other chocolate than white. See the advantage now? I came across this idea on Willow Arlen's blog www.willcook for friends.com and here is her article about How to Caramelize White Chocolate. She has explained the process beautifully has included photographs as well!


Ever since I read this article, I desperately wanted to try it out myself, but didn't have white chocolate in my pantry (never really had actually). So after buying slabs of white chocolate, I gave this caramelization process a try and thank god, it worked. I didn't want all that white mass to go waste. Then, I was waiting for strawberries. Berries and chocolate are a heavenly combination and though I've used dark chocolate with berries before, I wanted to try it out with this new caramelized version of white.


I can't tell you how ridiculously good this stuff tastes and it has definitely changed the way I look at white chocolate now :) Velvety smooth, melting, sweet caramel with a hint of sea salt (that you add at the end)......yum yum. And when they all come together - the silky smooth cream cheese, sweet and slightly sour strawberries and this amazing not too sweet white chocolate caramel.....slurrrrrrp.


I really really insist, please do try this at home (caramelizing white chocolate, what else? and yes this cheesecake recipe too) and no matter how big a fan you are of the dark one, you won't be able to resist yourself from licking spoons of this decadent caramel. I've now ordered a 5 lbs packet of white chocolate buttons just to make this amazingly delicious stuff.

Oh and by the way, I'm making a list of the recipes that I want to try with this amazing version of White Chocolate, something that I want to share with you guys. ASAP :)


Recipe Source: Bakingyummies

Makes about 12 cheesecake bars

Ingredients
For the Biscuit Base
200 grams / 7 ounces hi-fibre digestive biscuits or graham crackers
75 grams / 2.6 ounces unsalted melted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons caster or superfine sugar

For the Cream Cheese Mixture
2 packets (454 grams / 16 ounces) full fat Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
205 grams / 7 ounces caster sugar or superfine sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
50 grams / 2 ounces Crème Fraîche or sour cream at room temperature, optional

10 to 12 fresh Strawberries sliced, about 4mm thick.
Caramelized White Chocolate to drizzle

Method
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line the sides and base of an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Spray or brush lightly the parchment / foil with vegetable oil. Ensure that the parchment or foil is at least 2 inches above the sides of the pan. This will help in easy removal of the cheesecake later.

In a food processor or a grinder, pulse the biscuits to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and the 2 tablespoons caster sugar and pulse until the mixture comes together. Press this mixture onto the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 to 15 mins or until golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 165 degrees C. Keep a pan full of water on low flame. In a stand mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment, process the cream cheese till it is soft and creamy(1-2 mins).

Reduce the speed to low. Add sugar and beat until combined. Scrape the bowl as and when required. Add the egg and beat until well mixed. Add salt, vanilla extract and Crème Fraîche and beat for 1-2 mins.

Scrape the bowl and beat until smooth and thoroughly mixed.

Keep the pan in a roasting dish. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pan. Run a knife through the mixture slowly a couple of times to eliminate any air bubbles. Gently arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the mixture in whatever way you like.

Fill the roasting dish with the boiling water till it reaches about halfway up the pan. Place the roasting dish in the oven and bake the cheesecake till the center of the cheesecake jiggles a little when the pan is shaken slightly(about 45 mins to an hour). However, after about half an hour or so during the baking, cover the cheesecake with an aluminium foil to prevent the surface from browning. After the cheesecake has baked, switch off the oven and let the cake be in the oven for about half an hour.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once the cake is cooled, say 5-6 hours later, loosely place a tissue on top of the pan, place a cling film or an aluminium foil on top of the tissue. Secure the tissue and the cling film to the pan with a rubber band. Keep the covered pan in the refrigerator for at least 5 to 6 hrs or preferably overnight.

Once you want to eat the cheesecake bars, take it out from the refrigerator and remove the cheesecake from the pan by carefully pulling the parchment away from the pan and place on a leveled surface.

Pull away the parchment from the cheesecake only by the sides and not the base. To slice the cheesecake into bars, dip a sharp knife in warm water, pat it dry with a tissue or a cloth and cut through the cheesecake. Before you use the knife again, dip it again in the warm water and pat dry to clean. Repeat this process each time you use the knife. The reason we do this is to give each slice a clean look, otherwise you will have the cream cheese clinging to the knife and messing up the slices.

Arrange the slices on a serving platter and drizzle each slice with Caramelized White Chocolate. Enjoy your home made cheesecake bars either on their own or like I did, with few fresh strawberries dunked in Caramel Heaven :D

Note: The strawberries might shrink and appear sunk since the cheesecake batter rises a little. So, I arranged a few sliced strawberries on top of the sunken ones just before drizzling the Caramelized White Chocolate.

Storage Suggestions: Cheesecake bars will keep well in the refrigerator covered for up to 7 days.

A couple of things to take care of: 1. While preparing the cream cheese batter, do not over-mix it at any stage. Over-mixing creates air bubbles in the batter leading to holes and cracks in your baked cheesecake.

2. The reason a cheesecake is baked in a water bath is because it solves two purposes, first, it stops the cake from having a dry texture due to the moisture from the water thereby giving you a silky and velvety texture and second, the water helps to maintain a constant temperature in the oven so that the cheesecake bakes evenly greatly reducing the chances of cracks on the cheesecake's surface.

Happy Baking!!! 


2 comments

  1. Wow this looks absolutely delicious....I'm gonna have to give these a go, love white chocolate and cheesecake...Thanks for sharing...

    Simon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Simon and you are welcome! :)

      Delete

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