Sunday, August 5, 2012

Candy in my Cheesecake.

Usually I put off making cheesecakes until the holiday season, but I had promised to make one as a thank you gift; and I keep my promises, especially when it comes to food. I knew exactly which one I was going to make, my Toffee Shortbread Cheesecake; a bottom layer of crushed shortbread cookies; a creamy layer of cream cheese mixed with mascarpone.

The candy bits are usually found in the baking aisle, crushed Skor candy pieces, or Heath Bar bits. Now both contain chocolate as they're the actual candy bars crushed (you can do the same if you can't find the packages in the baking aisle). I noticed that Heath Bar has a package called "Bits o' Brickel" which is only the toffee part of the candy bar broken up; no chocolate. I also noticed a big change in package weight; I used to buy 10 ounce packages and now they have been reduced to 8 ounces. May not sound like a big difference to you, but it is to a person who uses the product for baking; I will live with it though.

Anyway, lets cut to the chase and get to that luscious cake. I use one trick when making cheesecakes, baking the cake in a bain marie (French term meaning "water bath"). The cake pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, rests inside a glass baking dish. Water is poured halfway up the outside of the cake pan; as the cake bakes, the water and batter equalize in temperature inside their respective dishes; the cake bakes evenly and does not crack.

By the way, that crack you see in the above photo; that is what happens when you don't use the correct utensils when moving an entire cheesecake from the springform pan bottom to a serving cracks!

Toffee Shortbread Cheesecake


1 (12 oz) package shortbread cookies, crushed
½ cup melted butter
2 (8 oz) packages mascarpone cheese
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) bag Heathbar or Skor candy bits


In a small bowl, mix together the crushed cookies and butter until crumbly, but still moist. Cut out circle of parchment paper that will line the bottom of a 9” spring form pan. Use nonstick baking spray on bottom and sides of pan, press parchment circle to bottom; spray paper with nonstick spray. Press mixture onto bottom and quarter way up the sides of the pan; place in refrigerator to set for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream together mascarpone, cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in candy bits, but do not over mix. Pour mixture into pan; wrap aluminum foil tightly around the exterior of the pan. Place pan in center of a 3 quart baking dish; pour water halfway up side of pan being careful not to get any water inside the pan or foil; bake for one hour. Partially open oven door; let cake cool for half hour before removing pan from baking dish and placing in refrigerator overnight. Carefully remove spring form pan before slicing and serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Mary Cokenour