Monday, February 22, 2016

Caramel Toffee 'Tastic Cheesecake: A Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Recipe


The other day I came across an article from AZ Central in regards to the Cookie Dessert Challenge that the Girl Scouts of Arizona host. This is the third year that they have done this and they challenge local restaurants to incorporate the cookies into desserts for the month of February. If I'm not mistaken, they even had a contest for bloggers to submit their recipes. Of course I found out about it on the 19th and the deadline was the 20th. Womp. Womp. In solidarity, I decided to buy more Toffee 'Tastic cookies and create a cheesecake inspired by the only gluten free Girl Scout cookies. Not one of the restaurants offered a gluten free option. This made me incredibly sad. Good thing I can bake because I'll have my own dessert competition. Party of uno. Moi.
 I decided to use my go-to cheesecake recipe as it's a winner and has been tested with lots of taste testers. I originally tried this recipe back in high school when I was trying every fad diet out there. I found a cheesecake recipe from Suzanne Somers' Eat Great, Lose Weight (don't judge) and have modified it in true Timo fashion. This and a few other recipes have been the only thing that has stuck from that diet...LOL. Oops.

Instead of using a graham cracker cookie crust like I normally do, I used the Toffee 'Tastic cookies as the crust. These cookies are delicious. Short bread goodness with toffee bits. Yum. Yum. I got to try these last year for the first time as they tested them in Sacramento, CA back when I was living there, to see if they would be successful. I was so excited to be able to eat Girl Scout cookies again. They do not disappoint. Finally, the cheesecake is topped with caramel sauce because who doesn't love toffee and caramel? The combo is delicious and it just worked. See?
 I've always said that cheesecakes are a labor of love since they do take time to make. This one is no exception as the whole process takes right around 4 hours. Don't let that deter you from making it. Three and a half of those hours include baking and cooling down. What I'm trying to get at is, this is not a dessert to make if you're in a hurry or have procrastinated. This takes time and most importantly, love.

The last day to buy Girl Scout cookies is February 29th (hello leap year!). So...what are you waiting for? GET ALL THE COOKIES.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. :)

Cheesecake Ingredients:
  • 2 - 8 oz. packages non-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C Splenda or sweetener of choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 32 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt
Cookie Crust Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 packages of Toffee 'Tastic Girl Scout Cookies (approximately 21 cookies) + 1-2 cookies for garnish
Topping:
  • 1 jar of caramel topping (fancy, I know!) or you can get classy and make your own. But why would you want to do more work? I used Archer Farms Salted Chocolate Caramel dessert sauce.
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the Crust - Combine cookies in a food processor until finely ground. The cookies already have their own oil so you don't need to add additional to bind.
  3. For the Cheesecake - In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sweetener. Beat with a mixer until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, making sure that they get mixed in evenly.
  5. Next, add in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt.
  6. Once the ingredients are fully combined, add in the Greek yogurt until evenly blended.
  7. Lightly spray a springform pan with cooking spray.
  8. Press the cookie mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan.
  9. Once the crust is complete, pour the cheesecake mixture on top.
  10. Fill a roasting pan with 1 inch of boiling hot water. Next you will need to wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil so that water doesn't accidentally leak into your cheesecake.
  11. Carefully place the cheesecake into the roasting pan and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  12. Once the timer goes off, DO NOT open the oven. Turn off the oven and reset the timer for 1 hour. After an hour, you will take the cheesecake out and allow to cool before covering and placing in the fridge (approximately an hour).
  13. Once the cheesecake is ready to be served, remove the cake from the springform pan. Heat the sauce up and then drizzle the caramel sauce on top. Crumble more cookies and sprinkle on the cheesecake for garnish
  14. Proceed to shovel the cheesecake in your mouth and prepare for a mouf party.
  15. Makes 12 servings (or less depending on big your slices are).
What are your favorite Girl Scout cookies? Have you ever tried to make desserts out of them?

This week is all about the sweet treats... Stay tuned for my next post: Gluten Free Lemon Olive Oil Cake.

~The Hungry Latina