You'll fall head-over-heels for this creamy, dreamy cheesecake and its caramel cookie crust.

Marianne Williams

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Credit: Will Dickey; Prop Styling: Christina Daley; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe Summary test

active:
20 mins
bake:
10 mins
cool:
30 mins
refrigerate:
4 hrs
total:
5 hrs 10 mins
Servings:
12
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Say hello to a delightfully creamy no-bake cheesecake. Don't be intimidated by the seemingly long list of instructions; while the process is a bit lengthy (all good things take time), nothing is overly complicated. The most thought will probably go into how you want to swirl your caramel. It has a wonderful velvety, silky texture rather than the custardy, thick feel of traditional baked cheesecakes. Sour cream provides a subtle tang and mellows out the sweetness of the dulce de leche. Feel free to use a caramel sauce instead (we like Ghirardelli), but if you want dramatic swoops and swirls, the thicker consistency of the dulce de leche will not disappoint. The super-crispy caramel cookie crust will help to carry the salted caramel flavors throughout. While you could try a graham cracker crust instead, the cookies are readily available in most grocery stores and are the little detail that will take this over the top. This cheesecake is balanced and perfectly sweet, with warm undertones and lots of depth—it's best served nice and cold straight from the fridge. For a little extra touch, dollop on some lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream (though we won't judge if you get it from a container) and/or drizzle on chocolate sauce.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Pulse cookies in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 pulses. Add butter and ¼ teaspoon of the kosher salt; pulse until mixture starts to clump and sticks together when pinched with fingers, about 10 pulses. Press mixture evenly into bottom and 1 ½ inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven until crust is toasted and deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Place on a wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes.

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  • Beat whipping cream with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium-high; beat until peaks are almost stiff but still soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer whipped cream to a large bowl. Set aside.

  • Rinse mixer bowl, and wipe dry; remove whisk attachment from stand mixer, and fit with paddle attachment. Add cream cheese and granulated sugar to mixer bowl; beat with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add powdered sugar; beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add sour cream, vanilla, ¼ cup of the dulce de leche, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until fluffy and no whipped cream streaks remain.

  • Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into cooled crust. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the dulce de leche; drag the tip of a knife or a wooden pick through caramel to create swirl patterns. Spread remaining cream cheese mixture over dulce de leche. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons dulce de leche; repeat swirl patterns using tip of knife. Cover cake with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

  • Run a sharp paring knife around edges of crust to loosen from springform pan. Remove sides of springform pan. Slice cake. Sprinkle with sea salt, and serve cold.

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