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Still need a stellar Christmas Day dessert idea? Look no further! Even if you already have your Christmas menu all planned out, this amazing turtle cheesecake might just make you change your mind….
Cheesecake is definitely one of my favorite desserts to take to parties when I know I’ll be feeding both health nuts and “normal” people. My healthy version of my Grandma’s famous cheesecake (you can also find it on page 352 of my cookbook) is always a hit, so I used it as the base for this turtle cheesecake with its interspersed chocolate chips, thick layer of caramel topping, and chopped pecans. Don’t want to make caramel (my recipe below is super easy, I promise) or don’t like nuts? Just leave those off and enjoy a simple chocolate chip cheesecake!
I knew I needed to post this earlyish in the week so you all can include it in your Christmas menus, so I made it Monday night. I took a piece out to taste and photograph yesterday (Tuesday), and I’m hoping the rest will keep OK in the fridge so I can take it to our family Christmas gathering on Sunday. In my experience, cheesecake gets better and better as it ages, so I have high hopes that my scheme is going to work.
Are you scared of making cheesecake? I used to think that cheesecake must be really involved and time-consuming to make, but once I took the plunge and actually made one a few years ago, I realized that I had been fostering a bunch of crazy notions about cheesecake. It’s actually really easy to make! If you want a pretty cheesecake without cracks on top, be sure to use full-fat ingredients and bring all ingredients to room temperature before mixing them up. The tricks I used in the recipe below of baking the cheesecake in a water bath and letting it slowly cool in the oven after baking seem to help as well. The fewer drastic temperature changes your cheesecake has to undergo, the better. With this cheesecake, it doesn’t really matter. I mean, you’re covering up the top with caramel and pecans and chocolate chips anyway.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas focused on Christ – the true reason for the season. We like to focus on the cute baby in the manger, and it really is incredible that God would take human form and come to live on earth, but remember that He didn’t remain a baby! He became a man, showed us how to live and love, then took our sins upon Himself and gave His life for us. But the story still doesn’t end there! He proved His power over sin and death by rising from the dead, then He ascended into Heaven and is sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. Right now. We owe Him our lives, our love, our entire beings.
As always, check out the Notes section of the recipe for extra info. Check out the links in and below the recipe to see the products I use and recommend. Some of the links included in the recipe and blog post are affiliate links, which means that if you make purchases through these links, I make a small commission to help defray the costs of running this blog (at no extra charge to you). Thanks for your help!
You may also enjoy:
- Starting THM
- my recipe index
- my recipes grouped by fuel type, allergy info, and theme
- Christmas-themed recipes
- Monday’s roundup of peppermint recipes
- all my cheesecake recipes
- ¼ c. + 2 T. Briana's Baking Mix
- 3 T. oat fiber (use gluten free if necessary)
- 1 tsp. THM Super Sweet Blend
- ¼ tsp. xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 5 T. salted butter, softened
- 2 T. Greek yogurt
- 20 oz. cream cheese, room temperature*
- 3 T. oat fiber (use gluten free if necessary)
- 2 T. THM Super Sweet Blend
- 1 T. THM Gentle Sweet
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 pint sour cream, room temperature
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- ½ c. sugar-free chocolate chips
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
- ½ c. salted butter
- 2½ tsp. THM Super Sweet Blend
- 2 tsp. molasses
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅜ tsp. xanthan gum
- Chopped pecans
- Sugar-free chocolate chips
- Make the crust. Whisk the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients and mix well. Press into a greased 10" spring-form pan and bake at 350* for 6 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325* to prepare for baking the cheesecake.
- Make the cheesecake filling. Beat the first six ingredients (cream cheese through salt) together until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat again. Add the eggs and beat well until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the cheesecake batter over the hot crust. Place a large piece of tinfoil around the bottom of the spring-form pan and set the pan in a larger pan with a lip. (I use a pizza pan with sides.) Fill the larger pan with ½"-1" of water. Put the whole contraption in the oven and bake at 325* for 1 hr. and 5 min. or until the cheesecake is set. Turn the oven off, crack the door open, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven.
- Make the caramel while the cheesecake is cooling in the oven so both will still be warm when you're ready to use the caramel. Heat the cream and butter in a nonstick pan; whisk in the rest of the ingredients while the butter melts. (Add the xanthan gum while whisking so it doesn't clump.) Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then cover and cook for 7 minutes or until thickened, adjusting the heat downwards as far as possible while still retaining a slow boil. Doing it this way produces a lot of caramel sauce without as much intense caramel flavor. If you'd like more flavor and less sauce, leave the caramel uncovered and cook longer if necessary until the caramel reaches your desired caramelization. Whisk occasionally to keep the caramel from burning, especially if you decide to cook it longer.
- When the cheesecake and caramel are both done, top the cheesecake with your desired amount of chopped pecans and sugar-free chocolate chips. Pour the caramel sauce over the cheesecake. (The warm caramel will melt the chocolate chips a little, which I like.) Garnish with additional chopped pecans and chocolate chips. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight to chill and set completely before removing from the pan, cutting, and serving.
The only actual source of nuts in this is the pecans, so if you leave them off, people with nut allergies can enjoy a chocolate chip cheesecake with caramel sauce (provided that you can handle the coconut flour in my baking mix and find certified nut-free sugar-free chocolate chips).
If you don't have my baking mix on hand, you can try THM Baking Blend in its place. You'll probably need an extra tablespoon or two since my mix is drier and soaks up more liquid.
- Oat Fiber
- THM Oat Fiber (gluten-free)
- THM Super Sweet Blend
- Xanthan Gum (iHerb)
- THM Gentle Sweet
- Sugar-free Chocolate Chips