Creamy white chocolate cheesecake has macadamia nuts throughout, with a homemade caramel sauce poured over the top.
- 1 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 1 sleeve of crackers)
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 11 oz white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts, plus more for topping if desired
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 12 cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and about half an inch up the sides. Bake in the oven until lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- In a double boiler, or in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, combine the white chocolate and half and half. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
- Take the springform pan with the crust and wrap it tightly in foil, completely covering the bottom and the sides. I usually triple wrap mine. You don’t want any water to be able to leak into the pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the sugar and mix to combine. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping the bowl in between additions. Add in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract and mix just until combined. (Make sure you scrape the bottom of the mixer with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are combined. I always find some of the cream cheese sticks in the bottom of my mixer bowl.) Stir in the 1 cup of macadamia nuts. Pour the mixture into the crust.
- Place the pan in a larger pan or roasting pan and place it in the oven. Fill the outside pan with about 1 inch of hot or boiling water. Bake the cheesecake until the outside is mostly set and the middle just barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and prop the oven door open with a pot holder or kitchen towel. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the oven, then remove, cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly.
- To make the caramel, pour the water into a heavy saucepan. Pour the sugar in the middle of the pan, making sure not to coat the sides of the pan with the sugar. Turn on the heat to medium-low and cook, not stirring, until the mixture turns an amber color. Turn off the heat and add the cream. It will spit and sputter, so you will want to stand back. The mixture may seize, but take a whisk and stir vigorously until it is smooth. Start adding in the butter, 1-2 cubes at a time, letting the butter melt about halfway before adding more butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, stir in the salt. Transfer the caramel to a glass jar and refrigerate until it thickens and cools completely.
- To serve the cheesecake, run a knife around the outside of the pan. Carefully remove the outer edge of the springform pan, and place the cheesecake on a serving plate. You can either pour the caramel on the whole cheesecake and garnish with additional macadamia nuts, or add the caramel to individual slices. (You may end up with a little bit of extra caramel. But it tastes great on top of ice cream!)
- Store the cheesecake covered in the refrigerator.