A great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my bestie Suzie Q-Zie (this one's for you)!!
So I've been dreaming up this recipe for such a long time. Maybe it's because I've been surrounded by cases of Girl Scout cookies for weeks. Maybe it's because the Internet has been saturated with Girl Scout cookie re-makes for months. Maybe it's just because I wanted to celebrate finding my cheesecake recipe after having been lost for over a year. Whatever the subconscious reason, I'm so glad I made this irresistible cake for you.
I'm not really a peanut butter fan at heart, but I do enjoy it every once in a while. This cake, though - it's for all you peanut butter lovers. Hubby said it tasted like a Reese's (really, there isn't a drop of chocolate on this cake, but it's food for thought for the next one). The peanut butter caramel sauce is what got me hooked. I honestly ate it by the spoonful (taste-testing...totally necessary).
First you take the cookies and you smash them, you smash them. Then you take the butter and you melt it, you melt it. And that's gooood cookie crust...ok I'm done with the musical interlude. This crust can really work with any sandwich cookie if you don't feel like sacrificing a $4.00 box of 20 cookies.
The sauce is the real winner here. It's a super simple combination of store-bought caramels, some milk, and a healthy dose of peanut butter and you have magic.
I really waited to make this until the evening my friend left for home because I knew she'd want to be 800 miles away (she has a thing about carbs). Rather than torture her with a cake that I knew she wouldn't want to eat, I made it for her after she moved and ate it all by myself to celebrate. Just kidding, I totally shared a slice with Hubby.
Do-Si-Dos Caramel Peanut Butter Cheesecake
20 Do-Si-Dos cookies (or other peanut butter sandwich cookies)
1/4 C butter (1/2 stick), melted
2 - 8 oz pkgs nuefchatel cheese, softened (you can use regular cream cheese)
1 - 16 oz container sour cream
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C granulated brown sugar (you can sub regular sugar)
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
For the crust: Smash the cookies in a gallon zipper bag with a rolling pin until they're reduced to fine crumbs. Combine in a medium bowl with the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of an 8-inch spring-form cake pan (a 9-inch will also work). Refrigerate until ready to bake.
For the filling: In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and sour cream. Add the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined. Add the flour, vanilla, sugar and peanut butter. Continue to mix until everything is well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Place spring-form pan on a large cookie sheet (the butter tends to melt out while baking and that's no fun to clean up).
Bake at 375° for 35-45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. The center will still be slightly jiggly.
Cool on a wire rack about 30 minutes before transferring to the fridge to cool overnight, or at least 4 hours.
For the Caramel Peanut Butter Sauce: Combine one package of caramels (I use Kraft) with 1/2 C milk and 1/3 C creamy peanut butter in a large saucepan. Melt over medium low heat, stirring often, until everything is smooth.
When the cake is completely cooled, lather on a generous layer of caramel sauce. This is why I don't mind the cracks on the top of the cheesecake, they just soak up the caramel! Reserve any left over sauce to serve on top of the slices once the cake is cut. Enjoy!