My husband’s birthday was on Monday. When I asked him what he wanted for a dessert, his only request was something with caramel and pretzels.
I love that sweet and salty combination and immediately thought of a cheesecake. He liked that idea and I started thinking up different flavor variations.
Of course, the first cheesecake that I thought up contained chocolate. We all know that chocolate, caramel, and pretzels is a great combination!
However, since my husband isn’t a fan of chocolate, I figured I would make a dessert without chocolate in it. . . it was his birthday after all.
Despite not having chocolate, the combination of creamy cheesecake and crunchy pretzels combines to make one highly addictive dessert!
The crust is a combination of pretzels and graham crackers that is topped with a rich layer of salted caramel.
The vanilla cheesecake layer evens out the richness of the caramel and is perfect with a drizzling of more salted caramel right before serving!
For the crust
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups crushed pretzels (using a food processor or rolling pin)
For the Cheesecake filling
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
For the Caramel topping
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Pretzels, flaky sea salt and toffee bits to sprinkle on for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 cup water
For the crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
- Combine the pretzels, melted butter, and brown sugar until well mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Then, set aside to cool while your prep the filling
- Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth.
- Beat in butter, then eggs, 1 at a time, until just blended.
- Beat in vanilla. Pour batter over crust in pan.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan tightly with foil coming up the sides of it and place springform pan in large roasting pan.
- Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
- Bake uncovered until filling is puffed around edges and moves slightly in center when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from water; and allow to cool to room temperature on baking rack.
- Once cool cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.
- Once set, remove springform and top cake with caramel topping (storebought or homemade directions below) and garnish with pretzels, salt and toffee bits if using then slice and serve.
For caramel topping
- Stir sugar, water, and lemon juice in large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat; boil without stirring until mixture turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, approx 9 minutes.
- Add cream (mixture will bubble a lot). Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, stirring occasionally, approx 8 minutes.
- Chill until thickened but still pourable, about 15 minutes.
- Spoon caramel over top of cake.
- Garnish top edges with chopped English toffee, flaky sea salt and pretzels.
- Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides slice and serve