Saturday, December 6, 2014

Layered Turtle Cheesecakes - in Ball Canning Jars

 I received an assortment of Ball Canning jars to create these gift sized cheesecakes from Ball Canning and to facilitate this review.  A positive review was not required and all opinions and experiences are my own. 

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts to a holiday dinner is dessert.

Not a deep thought, right. Who doesn't enjoy a little treat around the holidays? Well, today's recipe is not only a fun treat to make ahead that you can stash in the fridge, but it also makes a great gift. I know that I wouldn't mind receiving a Layered Turtle Cheesecake in a Ball Canning jar, tied up with some festive string and a cute little spoon.

Yes, this recipe is too good to keep to myself. As an early Christmas present, dear readers, I will be sharing this easy recipe along with a fun sponsor, Ball Canning. More about the iconic canning jars in a minute, first let's dive right into the dessert spread laid out by my talented fellow bloggers:

Busy-at-Home : Mini Chocolate Fudge Cobblers with Homemade Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Daily Dish Recipes: Spiced Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifles

Adventures in All Things Food: Layered Turtle Cheesecakes

Flour on My Face: Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Trifle in a Jar

The Gunny Sack: Peppermint Brownies

Will Cook for Smiles: No Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake Gingerbread Trifle

I have to say I was over the moon to hear Ball Canning from Jarden Home Brands would be included in our week of  Holiday Recipe series. I have an entire shelving unit in my utility room devoted to organizing my canning jars, canning supplies and preserved food.

It is impressive that Jarden Home Brands, started by the Ball brothers, has been around for more than 125 years. You can read more about the history of Ball Jars on the site.

I use Ball canning jars because I know they will hold up to pressure canning, they will keep my preserved food air tight and safe, and with the newer colored glass jars and the Elite Collection, they are also great to look at and use for general storage. I keep my dry good, beans and rice, in large glass Ball jars since we switched out of plastic storage.

Over the years I have made several fun gifts to hand out in Ball canning jars. From homemade honey mustard to lavender sugar scrub, the possibilities seem endless! But, check out their Pinterest account for more great ideas and recipes.

I was thrilled to find that we would be using our Ball jars for a holiday dessert. I have seen people make some amazing things in Ball jars, but ultimately went with a cheesecake. It is my husband's favorite dessert. I am rather fond of the caramel, pecans and chocolate involved in this.

So grab some Collection Elite Brushed Silver Half Pint or Pint sized Ball jars. These are beautiful enough that they don't need much more than some simple festive twine or a bow. They also have a perfect wide mouth  that makes it easier assembling these treats.

First I assembled all my ingredients. Cheesecake is always better if your ingredients are at room temperature. I took the cream cheese and butter out, unwrapped my caramels and chopped the pecans. I actually like to put my prepped ingredients in small Ball jars for convenience.

I crushed up my sandwich cookies in the food processor with a little sugar and melted butter.

Then I pressed the crumbs into the bottom of my Ball jars. Because of the wide shape of the jar base, these worked really well for getting my fingers down into the jar to press the crumbs down.

I sprinkled just a little of my chopped pecans on top of the crumbs before layering in the cheesecake filling.

At this point, I could get started on the caramel sauce. Just good old Kraft caramel and evaporated milk. Warm slowly and stir.

Keep going till the caramel sauce reaches a smooth and pourable consistency. Set the sauce aside... or test it with a spoon. I firmly believe in taste testing at this point.

The cheesecake itself is really easy to make. Just beat the cream cheese, then add the flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Bake the cheesecake till the center isn't jiggling anymore.

Then comes the best part, aside from eating them... filling! The pint jars gave me enough room to add a layer of cheesecake, then caramel, and cheesecake on top. In the half pint jars I did a thin layer of each, with just a scoop or so more of cheesecake.

Be sure to leave  1/2" inch of head space for final topping. You will want to be able to put a lid on easily.

After the cheesecake is baked and the bottles are filled, I chilled my cheesecakes overnight. Then I topped them with pecans, mini chocolate chips and drizzled each one with a little more caramel sauce.

You could make a label for these, or just go simple with spoons and baker's twine. My only addition was to add a Ball wide mouth plastic storage cap when gifting. They work well for the refrigerator and are easier to unscrew.

Layered Turtle Cheesecakes

You Will Need:
  • 1 c. chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. pecans, roughly chopped
  • 11 oz. caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 (8oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • more caramel sauce for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pulse up the cookie crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter in a food processor. Divide between 6 Ball jars and press the crumbs down. Sprinkle with pecans.

After the crusts are made, melt the caramels in evaporated milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk till smooth. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In a standing mixer, cream together the cream cheese and remaining sugar. Cream for a full 3 minutes, scraping down the sides during the process. Beat in the flour, then eggs, one at a time and finally adding in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides to ensure there are no lumps.

Bake the cheesecake filling in an oven-safe dish for about 45 minutes, or until the center is no longer jiggly. Turn off oven and allow the baked filling to come to room temperature with the oven door open.

Carefully spoon half the cheesecake mixture into the bottom of the jars. Then spoon in a thin layer of caramel. Top with the remaining cheesecake filling, be sure to leave 1/2" gap from the top.

Refrigerate the cheesecakes overnight. To serve, sprinkle with pecans, mini chocolate chips and drizzle with caramel sauce. Enjoy! 

And, let's not forget this week's Giveaway! 

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