I can’t stop watching 500 Days of Summer. I’ve already seen this movie before and have always loved it, but for some reason this week, I REALLY love it. I do have to say that my ultimate favorite scene of this movie is when the boy gets lucky and does a whole little pitter patter to Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True.” I’ve secretly always wanted to break out in a choreographed dance in public slash wish I witnessed one. I’ve watched this movie three days in a row and have it playing in the background while I’m scrapbooking, taking photos of food, or blogging (like right now). Maybe because this movie is so real.. maybe because I can relate to it so well… maybe because Joseph Gordon Levitt is so gosh darn adorable.. maybe because I love love stories, whether they’re love stories or stories about love. Either way, I just can’t get enough of it.
It reminds me of all the cute awkwardness of when relationships start (which I kinda miss a little bit after being in a relationship for +two years) and that no matter what, life can always throw you curveballs when you least expect it.
These cheesecake bars were an example of the curveball that life threw at me when I definitely did not need or expect it. I went to the store and bought all the ingredients necessary.. or so I thought. When I got home and finished making the crust and the cheesecake, I realized that I didn’t buy a can of dulce de leche, but rather, a disguised can of condensed milk. Since it was much too late to go back to the grocery store and I had no time to, I decided I’d try to conquer this problem by making my own dulce de leche.
Keep in mind that I started baking around 9PM and started the dulce de leche around 9:30PM. I chose the stovetop method, which was a disaster because you really need like six hours to make it right (or so the DB’s grandma tells me) and I only had three. My dulce de leche turned out to really just be a thicker condensed milk and never achieved the right color or consistency. I wish I bought the right can and saved all this time!
Anyways, this recipe is from Handle the Heat. Make sure to actually buy dulce de leche or have plenty of time to make your own! They would’ve turned out amazing, otherwise. Perhaps a little on the sweet side. Another note, for the crust, use regular graham crackers instead of cinnamon ones (like I always do). They take away from the flavor!
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers (from about 17 whole graham crackers)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche
- 3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
- Fleur de Sel
*A thick, sweet sauce made from caramelized sugar in milk or from sweetened condensed milk; available at some supermarkets and specialty foods stores and at Latin markets.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. 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.
2. Blend cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
3. Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl 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 glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill.
4. Cut cheesecake lengthwise with a sharp knife or scraper into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. For cleaner squares, dip knife in hot water then wipe off excess water before each cut. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.