Lime cheesecake bars with salted butterscotch topping and buttery pecan crust! Wow!

Lime cheesecake bars with salted butterscotch topping and buttery pecan crust! Wow!

I’m pretty sure the title alone would be enough to convince you guys to make these! These are rich, delicious yet well-balanced fresh and zesty cheesecake bars!

I’ve been obsessed with all things “butterscotch” and pecans ever since I made my Shmoo Torte. Except, I learned the hard way that the extreme richness of that Torte needs to be balanced well otherwise it’s just too onedimensional and too buttery. For that reason I had to redesigh the classic Shmoo Torte into a brighter and fresher tropical version. Culinary school 101 – balance your flavours!!

So when I decided to incorporate these flavours into a cheesecake, I knew right away that as much as I love the classic cheesecake flavours, I would need to switch them up in favour of fresher lime cheesecake. And it worked! Buttery pecan crust, bright light and fresh lime cheesecake layer topped with caramel sauce! Nice ratio of crust to cheesecake. Lots of textural contrast. This recipe is a winner!

Hope you give it a try!

You can barely see it, depending on the lighting, but I slightly tinted these lime cheesecake bars with green food colouring. You can absolutely skip adding the colour or add more. But I thought a very subtle greenish hint was an interesting addition to a lime bar.

Yields32 Servings

For the crust:
 2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (2 sleeves of Graham Crackers or 10 oz)
  cup chopped pecans
  cup brown sugar
 1 stick butter, melted
 pinch of salt
Cheesecake Layer:
 3 packages cream cheese, softened
 2 tsp vanilla
 2 tsp lime zest
  cup lime juice (from about 2.5 limes)
 1 cup sugar
 4 eggs, cold
 ½ cup sour cream, at room temp
Butterscotch layer:
 ¼ cup butter (4 TBSP or 1/2 stick)
 ½ cup dark brown sugar
 ½ cup heavy cream
 ½ tsp vanilla
 ¼ tsp kosher salt or other coarse salt, plus more, to taste (if using fine table salt, use half as much)

1

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Line 9x13" baking dish with aluminum foil. Ensure the sides of the foil overhang so that the cheesecake could be lifted out of the pan with ease later. Grease lightly.

2

For the crust:

Crush your Graham Crackers. You can do that in a food processor, blender or simply put in Ziplock bag and smash with a rolling pin. Chop or process your pecans and stir into Graham crackers. Stir in sugar and salt and mix to combine. Pour melted butter over the mixture. Press into the bottom of prepared 9x13" baking dish.

Bake the crust for about 8-10 minutes until set. Don't expect the colour to change much. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime reduce the oven to 325°.

3

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat cream cheese until smooth for about 3 minutes. Stop and scrape the sides and at that point add vanilla, lime juice, salt, lime peel. Beat for another 3 minutes or so.

4

Add the sugar all at once and beat for about 2 minutes until combined.

5

This next step could be optional but it's used by pastry chefs to achieve the flawless texture of the cheesecake. Place a fine-mesh sieve over your cheesecake bowl and place your eggs in it. With the rubber spatula, press and whisk the eggs until they pass through the sieve; discard clot-like bits that remain. It may seem impossible at first and that the eggs will never pass through, but trust the process with a bit of patience, and they will!

Then gently mix the eggs in on low. It's important to mix the batter on low for a minute or two, as mixing it on higher speed would aerate the batter too much, and these air bubbles may contribute to cracks.

I've attached a picture of what's left behind in a fine-mesh sieve. Doesn't look appetizing, does it? This step ensures all of those "clots" with the unpleasant textures, don't make it into your cheesecake.

6

Again, stop and scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula. Add sour cream (or heavy cream) and mix on low for just another minute until combined. If desired, add a small drop of green food colouring at the same time as you add the cream; make sure to add very little colour at first to avoid adding too much and making your cheesecake look too cartoonish green. Pour the batter into prepared cooled crust.

7

Bake the bars for around 45-50 minutes, until the filling is set but still jiggly and soft in the centre. Remember, your cheesecake will set as it cools.

If you measure with an instant-read thermometer 1" from the edge - the temperature should be about 180°.

8

When baked, turn the oven off, leave the door of the oven wide open, pull out the racks gently so the cheesecake is almost on the outside of the oven. This will facilitate the cooling process while the residual heat from the oven will make the process more gradual, which will prevent cracks. Do this for about 20 minutes at which point finish cooling at room temperature.

Cool your cake for about 15-30 minutes to cool slightly, after you remove it from the oven. At that point start working on your caramel sauce.

9

For the butterscotch caramel topping:

Your sauce will foam and bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a medium pan and not a small one.

Add butter and sugar and heat on medium heat, swirling the pan and infrequently stirring the sauce with a rubber spatula, around 3 minutes. The sauce should become quite smooth and fluid and no longer look grainy. In other words, you are looking to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Picture is attached of how the sauce should look like right before you add the caramel.

Add cream and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir constantly with a heat resistant spatula and cook for 7-8 minutes until the temperate of the caramel reaches 225. After a minute of cooking, turn your heat up back to medium heat.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes as the sauce will be extremely hot. Taste it and see if you wish to add a bit more salt. Salt brings an interesting dimension to this sauce, so don't be afraid to add more. I personally used 1/2 tsp coarse fleur de sel but each brand is different so start at 1/4 tsp and go from there according to taste.

10

Pour this sauce over your cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

Slice cheesecake into bars. Run a sharp knife under hot water and wipe dry with a paper towel between slices. Make sure your cheesecake is very cold as the caramel will be most set and "sliceable" at cold temperature.

Feel free to garnish with more fleur de sel or other coarse salt.

NOTE:
11

This recipe is based on my lemon cheesecake bars recipe. I've increased the proportions to fit 9x13 baking dish. I have, however, decreased the sugar since caramel is already very sweet. If for any reason you forgo making the caramel layer, I suggest increasing the sugar to 1.5 cups (instead of 1 cup as in the recipe.)

I suggest slicing these into very small squares as this is a very rich dessert and a small bite goes a long way!

Ingredients

For the crust:
 2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (2 sleeves of Graham Crackers or 10 oz)
  cup chopped pecans
  cup brown sugar
 1 stick butter, melted
 pinch of salt
Cheesecake Layer:
 3 packages cream cheese, softened
 2 tsp vanilla
 2 tsp lime zest
  cup lime juice (from about 2.5 limes)
 1 cup sugar
 4 eggs, cold
 ½ cup sour cream, at room temp
Butterscotch layer:
 ¼ cup butter (4 TBSP or 1/2 stick)
 ½ cup dark brown sugar
 ½ cup heavy cream
 ½ tsp vanilla
 ¼ tsp kosher salt or other coarse salt, plus more, to taste (if using fine table salt, use half as much)

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Line 9x13" baking dish with aluminum foil. Ensure the sides of the foil overhang so that the cheesecake could be lifted out of the pan with ease later. Grease lightly.

2

For the crust:

Crush your Graham Crackers. You can do that in a food processor, blender or simply put in Ziplock bag and smash with a rolling pin. Chop or process your pecans and stir into Graham crackers. Stir in sugar and salt and mix to combine. Pour melted butter over the mixture. Press into the bottom of prepared 9x13" baking dish.

Bake the crust for about 8-10 minutes until set. Don't expect the colour to change much. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime reduce the oven to 325°.

3

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat cream cheese until smooth for about 3 minutes. Stop and scrape the sides and at that point add vanilla, lime juice, salt, lime peel. Beat for another 3 minutes or so.

4

Add the sugar all at once and beat for about 2 minutes until combined.

5

This next step could be optional but it's used by pastry chefs to achieve the flawless texture of the cheesecake. Place a fine-mesh sieve over your cheesecake bowl and place your eggs in it. With the rubber spatula, press and whisk the eggs until they pass through the sieve; discard clot-like bits that remain. It may seem impossible at first and that the eggs will never pass through, but trust the process with a bit of patience, and they will!

Then gently mix the eggs in on low. It's important to mix the batter on low for a minute or two, as mixing it on higher speed would aerate the batter too much, and these air bubbles may contribute to cracks.

I've attached a picture of what's left behind in a fine-mesh sieve. Doesn't look appetizing, does it? This step ensures all of those "clots" with the unpleasant textures, don't make it into your cheesecake.

6

Again, stop and scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula. Add sour cream (or heavy cream) and mix on low for just another minute until combined. If desired, add a small drop of green food colouring at the same time as you add the cream; make sure to add very little colour at first to avoid adding too much and making your cheesecake look too cartoonish green. Pour the batter into prepared cooled crust.

7

Bake the bars for around 45-50 minutes, until the filling is set but still jiggly and soft in the centre. Remember, your cheesecake will set as it cools.

If you measure with an instant-read thermometer 1" from the edge - the temperature should be about 180°.

8

When baked, turn the oven off, leave the door of the oven wide open, pull out the racks gently so the cheesecake is almost on the outside of the oven. This will facilitate the cooling process while the residual heat from the oven will make the process more gradual, which will prevent cracks. Do this for about 20 minutes at which point finish cooling at room temperature.

Cool your cake for about 15-30 minutes to cool slightly, after you remove it from the oven. At that point start working on your caramel sauce.

9

For the butterscotch caramel topping:

Your sauce will foam and bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a medium pan and not a small one.

Add butter and sugar and heat on medium heat, swirling the pan and infrequently stirring the sauce with a rubber spatula, around 3 minutes. The sauce should become quite smooth and fluid and no longer look grainy. In other words, you are looking to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Picture is attached of how the sauce should look like right before you add the caramel.

Add cream and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir constantly with a heat resistant spatula and cook for 7-8 minutes until the temperate of the caramel reaches 225. After a minute of cooking, turn your heat up back to medium heat.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes as the sauce will be extremely hot. Taste it and see if you wish to add a bit more salt. Salt brings an interesting dimension to this sauce, so don't be afraid to add more. I personally used 1/2 tsp coarse fleur de sel but each brand is different so start at 1/4 tsp and go from there according to taste.

10

Pour this sauce over your cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

Slice cheesecake into bars. Run a sharp knife under hot water and wipe dry with a paper towel between slices. Make sure your cheesecake is very cold as the caramel will be most set and "sliceable" at cold temperature.

Feel free to garnish with more fleur de sel or other coarse salt.

NOTE:
11

This recipe is based on my lemon cheesecake bars recipe. I've increased the proportions to fit 9x13 baking dish. I have, however, decreased the sugar since caramel is already very sweet. If for any reason you forgo making the caramel layer, I suggest increasing the sugar to 1.5 cups (instead of 1 cup as in the recipe.)

I suggest slicing these into very small squares as this is a very rich dessert and a small bite goes a long way!

Salted Butterscotch Cheesecake

Troubleshooting and notes:

  • Slicing these bars should not be a problem if the instructions are followed. We cook the caramel to 225°, which ensures that it thickens well. Refrigerating the brownies for at least 4 hours (and ideally overnight) makes it easy to slice. Make sure to slice when the bars are very cold, with a sharp knife that you held under hot water and wiped dry with a towel (after each slice.)
  • I feel these may not be the best “Pot Luck Treats” as this is not the best dessert to sit out outside of the fridge. In addition, the caramel on top will soften at room temperature and stick to everything, making transporting of these quite difficult.

Make it Gluten-Free: Replace Graham Crackers with Gluten-Free wafers or Graham Crackers. As with all gluten-free recipes, ensure all your ingredients are gluten free and not cross-contaminated.

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