This is my first time using Dulce de Leche in a recipe because it is hard to find here, so I made my own. It is very thick, but velvety to the tongue. It made me want more and more. I may have eaten some from the can!
Dulce de Leche is a Latin American form of caramel, glorious caramel. I have seen it in several forms (on the web, not in my town). It can be found in the Hispanic section of many grocery stores, or in Hispanic markets. Here are some links for recipes to make your own dulce de leche. I made mine in the crock pot. To do this, remove the paper from cans of sweetened condensed milk, and lay them down in the crock pot. Add water to cover the cans to about an inch over the cans. Turn the crock pot on low setting and cook for 8 hours. You will have deliciously thick Dulce de Leche! Carefully remove cans from the crock pot and let them cool completely before trying to open. Here's a stove top recipe from Recipe Girl and various recipes from another source.
2 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup dulce de leche
3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream- I used 4 tablespoons of half and half
Fleur de sel to sprinkle on top- (I did not use this; not found in my town)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9x13 inch metal baking dish. Mix graham crackers crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Pour crumb mixture into the baking pan and press evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool completely on a rack.
Blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy with a mixer or food processor. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla and blend well. Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust. Bake until the center is set and the edges are puffed and slightly cracked. The middle should not jiggle when you shake the pan. Bake about 38 minutes. Mine were done in 32 minutes, so start checking your pan at about 30 minutes to be safe. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Heat duce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at about 10 second intervals until melted. Stir well, and add more cream if needed. I used half and half, because I was out of cream and it worked perfect. I needed 1 more T. cream than called for. The amount of cream you need will depend on the brand of dulce de leche you use. Pour glaze over the cooled cheesecake and spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Cut into bars and enjoy!
NOTE: Bars can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.