I made the Caramel Cheesecake Apple Dip from the Half Baked blog for our St. Patrick’s Day party dessert this weekend, and it was so amazing that I had to write about it immediately. It’s everything you love about a caramel apple (the juxtaposition of tart and sweet flavors, the crunch of the apple) with none of the drawbacks (messy to eat, sticky teeth). Plus, there’s the added goodness of toffee bits, mini chocolate chips and creamy cheesecake. As if you needed more reasons to try this, it doesn’t require any baking and is super easy to put together. The only problem with this recipe is that you need an occasion to make it. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll have eaten 30,000 calories all by yourself. 😉
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (that’s 1.5 blocks of cream cheese)
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Caramel sauce. I just bought a tub of caramel dip from the store; often found right under the apples in the produce section, but if you want to make your own, try my friend Shelly’s awesome salted caramel sauce recipe
- Toffee bits (found in the baking aisle)
- Mini chocolate chips
- Granny Smith or other crisp tart apples, sliced and soaking in lemon juice/water until ready to serve to prevent browning (I used 5)
Line a 6-inch cake pan or springform pan with enough plastic wrap to hang over the edge by 2 inches. I highly recommend using a springform pan; it makes it so much easier to transfer the finished dip to a platter.
Place the softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with handheld mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Place half of the cream cheese mixture in the lined pan and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Tip: Dip the spoon into warm water before you smooth the cream cheeses, and re-dip into the water often. This will make it much easier to spread the cream cheese.
Spoon on a layer of caramel. Sprinkle a layer of chocolate chips and toffee bits on the caramel. Don’t go overboard here; otherwise, you’ll have trouble spreading the top layer of cream cheese.
Place the remaining cream cheese on top of the layer of caramel, chocolate and toffee bits, then use the warm spoon technique described above to spread the cream cheese. Place the overhanging plastic wrap over the top layer of cream cheese, then put the cake pan into the fridge for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Once the dip has chilled, take the pan out of the fridge. If you’re using a springform pan, undo the edge of the pan. Unwrap the plastic wrap. Invert a serving platter over the top of the dip, flip the cake pan upside-down so that the dip is on the platter, then gently peel the plastic wrap away from the cream cheese. Using the warm-spoon technique, spread a layer of caramel sauce over the cream cheese, then sprinkle with more chocolate chips and toffee chips. Arrange the apple slices around the dip and serve!
Notes: The original recipe also says that if you’re in a hurry, you can just beat the cream cheese, cream, sugar and vanilla, then spread it on a platter, slather it with caramel sauce, sprinkle with chocolate and toffee chips, and serve it with apple slices. Also, if you don’t have a cake pan at all (hard to imagine, but I suppose some people don’t!), you could just make this in a pretty bowl, omitting the plastic wrap altogether. When you’re ready to serve the dip, just place the bowl on a nice tray and surround it with apple slices.