Recipe: No-Bake Turtle Brownie Cheesecake

Who can resist a Turtle Brownie Cheesecake?... Answer: no one.... Who can resist making a no-bake version?... Answer: not many cooks.
This easy to follow recipe is... in my opinion.... the closest in texture and taste to a baked cheesecake.  It is a combination of several recipes... and some inventiveness on my part. 
I started out with the intention of trying Martha Stewart's No-Bake Cheesecake... but just before I went to the kitchen to start.. I looked at her reviews... many noted that the cheesecake never set-up properly... which had me concerned.. I didn't want a soupy cake...
So problem number one was adding something to help set-up the mixture... I toyed with adding Cool Whip... since that works well with my pies.. but I wanted a heavier thicker consistency... so I decided to start the process and see where it went.
So let's get started..
Martha's recipe made a graham cracker crust.. I wanted chocolate and I wanted it gooey and thicker than the traditional crumb crust... so I decided on a brownie crust...

I didn't want it too thick so I used a 10 inch springform pan... lined it with a cake cardboard and then some parchment paper for easy removal and serving without the metal bottom of the pan.

You can purchase cake cardboards at a baking supply store... they come in various sizes and waxed and unwaxed.  Mine are unwaxed... so to keep the brownie batter from making the cardboard soggy.. I cut out a circle of parchment paper to lay on the cardboard.  No need to grease it.

Next.. I wanted something that would be quick, easy and not labor intensive.. so I used a brownie mix.. my favorite is Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies 13 x 9 size, 18.3 oz.  Mix it as you would be making brownies with the ingredients listed on the box... spread it into the lined springform pan and bake it. 

I baked it for 35 minutes.. it was still gooey in the middle... it was good but next time I will bake it longer... I'd say 38-39 minutes should be about right for a still slightly chewy brownie layer.

I used Hershey's Caramel Ice Cream topping in the jar... easy and it worked well.. so why make your own? ... but if you want to .. be my guest.

Make sure your cream cheese is very soft... this will ensure you don't have to worry about cream cheese lumps in your batter.  If you want tips on softening cream cheese quickly... click here for my post.

I used JELLO Instant Vanilla Pudding (5.1 oz) 6 1/2 cup servings ... it has a slight yellow color and made the batter that color... if you absolutely want a white color.. I'd recommend you use the White Chocolate flavor... since white chocolate is really vanilla.. you should be fine.  The only catch may be .. I'm not sure it comes in the larger size box of instant pudding and substituting 2 small boxes may not be an answer.  The pudding is what makes this get thick and too much of a good thing may not be good... so if you do experiment.. let me know how it goes.

The sour cream is a must.. it cuts the sweetness and adds the needed tang... it also smoothes out the batter.
Make sure you use SWEETENED condensed milk.
I listed milk in the ingredients... without a quantity... mix together all the batter ingredients.. then add a little milk with the beater going to get it to the consistency you want... you can use skim milk or regular or lower fat.. it doesn't matter.. you will use less milk with the thinner milks and more with the full fat milk.

Drop by Spoonfuls over the caramel and nuts

Smooth out the top

Pecans and caramel make the brownie a Turtle Brownie... not everyone can eat nuts... and if that's your dilemma.. leave them out... I had to leave them out of mine.. and the cake was a hit just the same.

Drizzling the caramel over the top is not as easy as it looks... if you want nice even lines going across (I didn't bother this time) .. you can buy a "ketchup squeeze bottle" .. a plastic... cheap (usually around $1) bottle you can find at Walmart... load the caramel into it and use that to squeeze the lines on top of the cake.... same goes for the chocolate syrup.

Refrigerate about 2 hours before cutting... even though it sets up right away...
Use a wet knife to cut it... it will make the slicing easier.
All I can say is ... be prepared to have this cake disappear fast!

Recipe:  No Bake Turtle Brownie Cheesecake
All you need:
1 Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix (and ingredients needed for brownies)
2 pkgs. (8 oz each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sour cream
1 box (5.1 oz.) JELLO instant Vanilla Pudding mix
Milk *See TIPS
Hershey's Caramel Ice Cream Topping (in the jar)
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
About a cup chopped pecans
All you need to do:
Put a cake cardboard into a 10 inch springform pan.  Lay a round piece of parchment paper over the cardboard.
Preheat the oven and prepare the brownie as directed on the box.  Bake for about 38 minutes.
Allow the brownie to cool completely.
Reserve about a 1/4 cup of the chopped pecans and sprinkle the rest over the baked brownie.  Drizzle caramel syrup over the pecans (about 1/2 cup).  Set aside.
In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Keep beating as you pour a steady stream of the sweetened condensed milk.  Beat in the sour cream and the pudding. Beat until smooth.. add milk until the consistency is thick but spreadable.
Spread the batter over the brownie (and pecans and caramel)... smooth the top.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Wet a sharp knife and run it around the edge of the cake and the pan... loosen the springform sides and remove it.  Slide the cake with the cake cardboard off the metal bottom and place on a serving plate.
Top the cake with caramel and chocolate syrup.  Sprinkle the reserved pecans over the top if using them.

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