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Dark Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake

November 30, 2011

You have no idea how excited I get about Christmas.  It’s certainly not in any Griswold sort of way but this is definitely my favorite time of year!  All decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving and then I pretty much spend the rest of the month in the kitchen only coming out for air and some shopping 🙂  One of my absolute favorite desserts is this Dark chocolate turtle cheesecake.

This cheesecake has everything I love; dark chocolate, salted caramel and pecans.  No doubt you’ve seen a lot of these 3 in the past few months but there’s always room for a little more indulgence 🙂  I only make this dessert around the holidays because it is as rich as they come.  It starts with a buttery layer of crushed ‘nilla wafers (a favorite nostalgic treat by itself!), topped by a layer of gooey salted caramel, generously sprinkled with crunchy pecans and completed with thick dark chocolate cheesecake.  Umm what’s not to love?!

Dark Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake
Yields 16 servings
Adapted from Allrecipes


1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft

2 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup pecans

16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Dove Dark)


1. (At least 12 hours before) For the caramel sauce:In small microwave safe bowl, warm heavy cream in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds.  It should be hot to the touch.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar & water but DO NOT STIR.  Place over medium-high heat & bring to a boil.  Cook until mixture turns an amber color, but not too dark that it looks like the sugar is burning but definitely amber.  This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes just keep a close eye on it.

2. Remove from heat and add warm cream, vanilla, sea salt, and butter.  Stir gently (and carefully!  it will bubble up as you’re doing this) until smooth & well combined.  Let cool to room temperature and then store in an air tight container until it’s fully set.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Fill a teapot with hot water, bring to a boil and adjust heat to maintain a simmer.  Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-9 minutes or until fragrant.  Let cool and then chop them roughly and set aside.

For the crust: Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper.  In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter.  Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in 2 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.  Set aside.

4. For the cheesecake: In a large mixing bowl (or standing mixer) beat cream cheese for about 30 seconds until its all combined and smooth.  Gradually add sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula in between each addition.  Add vanilla extract. Beat in melted chocolate.

5. Very lightly butter the sides of the spring form pan.  Pour the caramel sauce over the bottom and sprinkle the pecans evenly over top the caramel. Pour batter into prepared pan starting with the edges and moving to the middle (if you pour the batter directly in the middle it will squish all the caramel to the outside).  Set a roasting pan or other large pan into the preheated oven.  Place the spring form pan inside it and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes half way up the sides of the spring form pan.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the middle is set.

6. Remove spring form pan from the water bath.  Let cool for a couple minutes and then CAREFULLY remove the foil from the outside of the pan (you may need two people to do this the first time).  Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate over night or at least 8 hours.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2011 8:36 am

    Oh this looks so decadent! I love your tree 🙂

  2. November 30, 2011 8:51 am

    This is over the top decadence, and I love it. And when it comes to Christmas we temd to be more Griswold, and its so much fun!

  3. November 30, 2011 9:49 am

    Oh, God. Picture a salivating 27-year old trying to look dignified as a fresh-baked PhD while oggling your post.
    This may have the potential to beat my favorite ever Godiva cheesecake….

    • November 30, 2011 12:42 pm

      lol! I do the same thing 🙂 and technically you could make this with Godiva dark chocolate!

  4. November 30, 2011 11:45 am

    I wish I had a piece right now…great job 🙂

  5. November 30, 2011 1:15 pm

    WOW, that looks really delectable and completely irresistible!

  6. November 30, 2011 3:20 pm

    I am so making this-that last picture is just tempting. Nothing like finding these flavors in a luscious cheesecake-delicious and decadent! Yum!

  7. December 1, 2011 10:36 am

    Oh, my! This looks fabulous! I need to make some desserts for the teacher’s holiday luncheon next week…if they need a cheesecake, this winner will be it!!!

  8. December 1, 2011 5:12 pm

    Reblogged this on kerrycooks and commented:
    Yum! Check out this amazing looking recipe from over at The Purple Spoon

  9. December 2, 2011 1:06 pm

    Ooo it’s been too long since I’ve had a chocolatey cheesecake! This looks so yummy!

  10. December 4, 2011 1:30 am

    I’m not usually a big fan of cheesecake, but add chocolate, caramel and nuts and I’m in! Looks wonderful!

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