Dulce de Leche, Need I Say More?

I have been dying for an excuse to make anything with dulce de leche. Thank goodness for this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I also am a fan of anything cheesecake, so this really wasn't a hard sell at all.

I had come across some "past due" molasses ginger cookies at work, and got the notion to use them for a crust for a cheesecake bar. Then a friend at work took it a step further and suggested making ricotta cheesecake bars. And, voila. My "excuse" was born. This recipe isn't for ricotta cheesecake, but I actually substituted the cream cheese in it for ricotta anyways. (I also pretty much never have whole milk in the house, so I used soy instead.) I figured with the sweetness of the dulce de leche, and the creaminess of the ricotta, it would make for a perfectly blended, but not over-the-top sweet, cheesecake bar. The dulce de leche isn't overwhelmingly flavorful here, but there are definite caramel-y undertones. I had to keep myself from indulging on the leftovers at every meal of the day.

Overall, I'd flag this one a "must make". Enjoy!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2003
Makes 64 (1-inch) cheesecake squares
Note: Cheesecake (without glaze) can be chilled up to 3 days.
Cheesecake Squares
For crust

3 1/2 oz graham crackers, crumbled (1cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For filling
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope, will be just about half an envelope)
1/4 cup whole milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (12 1/2 oz) (recipe follows)
For glaze
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Make crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.
Make filling: Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath (I was able to fit mine in a 9×13-inch baking pan) in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Glaze cake within 2 hours of serving: Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes. Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 1-inch squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. (Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential for uber-neat squares.)
Dulce De Leche (Milk Caramel):
Pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored.
Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.


  1. oh man, our ginger molasses cookies at work are so good and i never would have thought to use them as a crust for anything. they look awesome. and smitten kitchen just rules. you should share some creations some time ;)

  2. thanks courtney! i will def be brining in "samples" to share as time goes on, as I am most certainly not consuming all of this on my own. ha. hope to see you at the "biz" soon!

  3. These were (past tense) so delicious, please make again....