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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cheesecake

We made this cheesecake one weekend when we wanted something delicious to eat. Of course we forgot it had to be refrigerated overnight, so we were forced to eat chocolate instead. The next day when it was finally ready to eat,  we were feeling guilty about indulging, so we decided to freeze it until there were ta least two more cheesecake lovers in the house. It ended up staying in the freezer for a couple of weeks. The thawing process took a lot longer than we thought, so if you ever decide to freeze, take it out and refrigerate it overnight. The caramel topping is a luxurious addition, and we wouldn't be opposed to a nice drizzle of chocolate ganache as well. If you do not want to take the time to make the caramel you can of course, get a jar of your favorite caramel sauce in your grocery store aisle! Either way, enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

Crust
1 sleeve of saltine crackers
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. coco powder

Filling
4  8 oz. pkgs. of cream cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs
12 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Caramel Topping
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


DIRECTIONS

Earlier in the day, take out and bring to room temperature:
cream cheese, sour cream,sour cream,and eggs.

Line the bottom of a 10"springform pan with parchment paper.

In a food processor, place crackers, sugar and cocoa powder and pulse until finely ground. Add melted butter and combine. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan, and preheat the oven to 350°

In top of a  double boiler, melt chocolate, stir until smooth, and set aside to cool.

Beat cream cheese and the sugar in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in the sour cream, the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, and vanilla. Slowly mix in the chocolate until well combined.

Pour over the crust, and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour.

Allow the cake to cool, then chill overnight.

Before serving, make the caramel by combining the sugar and water in a heavy sauce pot, then heat without stirring until sugar becomes a light golden color. Be careful not to let the sugar burn. If you feel the need to stir, you can swirl the pan around a bit. Be ready to move fast and whisk in the cream - the mixture will bubble up and be very hot, so again be careful not to burn yourself. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt.

Once slightly cooled, drizzle over the whole cake, or individually on to slices.




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