Forget the fancy bakery – these Turtle Cheesecake Cookie Bars are an impressive dessert you can make at home! A chocolate cookie base, a caramel cheesecake center, and lots of chocolate, caramel and pecans to top them off!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup caramel topping*
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
- 18 caramel candies, unwrapped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 13×9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the cookie dough: beat the butter, shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat until creamy.
In another bowl, stir the cornstarch, baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa together. Start adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly and beat until a soft dough forms.
Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the remaining dough.
Make the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the brown sugar, and continue to beat until creamy.
Add the caramel and the flour to the cream cheese and beat to combine. Add the egg and beat the mixture gently but completely. Do not overheat the batter. Pour the cheesecake layer over the cookie layer.
Take the reserved cookie dough and crumble over the top of the cheesecake layer.
Bake for 28 to 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the bars cool for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until completely cooled.
Make the topping: Place the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 15-20 seconds, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. If necessary, microwave for an additional 15 seconds.
Spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the cooled cheesecake bars with an offset spatula. Let the chocolate set up.
Place the caramel candies and the additional 1/4 cup cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the caramel is melted and creamy. Let the caramel cool for 7 to 8 minutes.
Drizzle the caramel over the top of the bars, then sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top while the caramel is still wet.
Cut into 24 bars to serve.
very slightly adapted from Cheesecake Love by Jocelyn Brubaker
*the book calls for a homemade caramel sauce, but I had a jar of caramel sauce on hand already so I just used that.
Nutrition information provided as an estimate only. Various brands and products can change the counts.
- Calories: 332
- Sugar: 23 g
- Sodium: 924 mg
- Fat: 19 g
- Saturated Fat: 9 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 39 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Cholesterol: 55 mg