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Turtle Cheesecake with Biscoff Cookie Crust

This decadent caramel turtle cheesecake has caramel sauce in the cheesecake, a layer of chocolate ganache, and a delicious Biscoff cookie crust with chopped pecans. Topped with even more caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, and pecans, it’s sure to be a fast favorite for the holidays or any get-together!

slice of turtle cheesecake on a plate

This chocolate and caramel Turtle cheesecake is perfect to bring to Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations. It looks beautiful without too much work [Hi, it’s me. I just finished typing out all the steps below and I’m here to retract this previous statement. It’s work. It’s work and it’s worth it and you can do hard things and you’ve totally got this. It’s enjoyable work, though, yes? High five!] and it’s absolutely mouth-watering.

One thing I’m going to address right away: you must use a water bath to prevent your cheesecake from cracking.

A proper water bath does not need to be rocket science. You can absolutely do this! And in return, you will be rewarded with a perfectly baked cheesecake.

If you follow the steps precisely, your cheesecake will turn out just fine.

But (very important disclaimer) if you don’t follow the steps precisely and your cheesecake does crack– that’s okay!!!! Do not throw it away.

One thing I am not an advocate for is perfection. I promise that the cheesecake will still be delicious and once decorated, you won’t even notice it.

Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s bake a cheesecake, eh?

Full turtle cheesecake sitting on a wooden cake stand.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Chocolate Ganache Layer – This layer is subtle but adds to the decadence of the crust. You could certainly leave it out OR double the ganache and it will taste fantastic either way. But I highly recommend keeping it in the recipe. It is so good.
  • Biscoff Cookie Crust – This recipe has a Biscoff cookie crust that includes chopped pecans instead of the usual graham cracker crust. These cookies add an autumn/winter spice that complements the other flavors of this cheesecake beautifully.
  • Caramel SauceCaramel sauce is in the cheesecake batter. I use my homemade caramel sauce, but you can certainly use store-bought as well!
  • Incredibly Rich and Decadent – I think I’m using the word decadent a third (now fourth?) time already but it’s the best word for this incredible cheesecake! The flavors are insane and this is my favorite flavor of cheesecake!
  • No Special Skills Required – You don’t have to worry about having decorating skills. Pour the caramel on the cheesecake, throw the chocolate ganache in a Ziploc bag or piping bag and crisscross it over the cake. You then top it with chopped pecans. You can absolutely do this!

Ingredients

Turtle Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust ingredients: biscoff cookies, brown sugar, heavy cream, chocolate chips, eggs, melted butter, cream cheese, sour cream, chopped pecans, caramel sauce, granulated sugar, and more brown sugar.

For the Crust:

  • Biscoff Cookies – I used a full 8.8 ounce package (32 cookies). This crust is so flavorful and goes so well with the caramel and chocolate notes. You’re going to need to crush these either in a food processor or with a rolling pin.
  • Chopped Pecans – I had some leftover toasted pecans in the fridge after making these brown butter pecan cookies, which I chopped and added to my crust. Even better, you could crush them along with the cookies for a more cohesive texture.
  • Brown Sugar – Adds a bit more flavor to the crust.
  • Melted Butter – This helps the crust stay together.

For the Chocolate Ganache Layer (and also for the topping):

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – You could also use a 6 ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar.
  • Heavy Cream – Makes the ganache glossy and rich.

For the Filling:

  • Cream Cheese – This needs to be room temperature. Set the cream cheese out two hours before baking!
  • Caramel Sauce – I used my own recipe, but you can also use store-bought caramel sauce. The sauce is added to the filling and also added to the top of the cheesecake.
  • Granulated Sugar – Works with the brown sugar to add sweetness to the cheesecake.
  • Brown Sugar – Complements the granulated sugar but adds a caramelly-molasses flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract – I didn’t add this to the picture above, but an important addition to the cheesecake! Don’t forget the vanilla extract. 🙂
  • Eggs – These should be room temperature also. I mix them in one at a time.
  • Sour Cream – This also needs to be room temperature. Adds to the creaminess of this cheesecake.

For the Topping:

  • Caramel Sauce – Again, you can use my recipe or skip that step and use store-bought.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – Just as you made the ganache for the chocolate layer in the cheesecake, that will be what you use to pipe the ganache on top.
  • Heavy Cream – For the chocolate ganache.

See recipe card for quantities.

YouTube video

Step-By-Step Instructions

Caramel Sauce in mason jar with a spoon pouring it into the jar.

Step 1: Make the caramel sauce. Skip this step if using store-bought caramel sauce. To make the caramel, whisk butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream over medium heat on the stove for 5-8 minutes. Allow it to bubble up and boil while continuously whisking. It will be ready once it has thickened. Add vanilla extract towards the end as you take the saucepan off the burner. Allow it to cool before using. It will thicken more as it cools.

Semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl.

Step 2: Make the chocolate ganache. To do so, add semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream to a bowl. Heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Take it out and whisk the ingredients.

Melted chocolate and heavy cream - chocolate ganache - in a bowl.

Step 3: The ingredients should be melted after 20 seconds, but if not, microwave in increments of 5 seconds, making sure to whisk or stir with a fork until the chocolate chips are melted into the heavy cream. Set aside as you prepare the crust.

Biscoff cookie crumbs in a food processor.

Step 4: Crush Biscoff cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, you can put the cookies into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and crush the cookies with a rolling pin or drinking glass.

Crust ingredients: Biscoff cookie crumbs, brown sugar, chopped pecans, melted butter in a bowl with a spatula in the bowl.

Step 5: Combine the cookie crumbs, brown sugar, chopped pecans, and melted butter in a mixing bowl.

Unbaked Biscoff cookie crust in a spring form pan.

Step 6: Pour the ingredients to a 9-inch spring form pan. Use the bottom of a drinking glass (or your hands) to firmly press the crust down on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Crust with the chocolate ganache on top of it.

Step 7: Pour the chocolate ganache into the crust then set aside the pan while you make the filling.

Cheesecake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Step 8: With a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese thoroughly for about two minutes. Then, add the caramel sauce, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs (one at a time), vanilla extract, and sour cream. Mix the ingredients well, making sure to scrape the side of the bowl with a spatula. Mix until just combined, avoiding over-mixing.

Covering the bottom of the cheesecake pan with tinfoil to prepare for a water bath.

Step 9: Cover the bottom of the pan with tinfoil to prepare it for the water bath. I double layer the bottom with tinfoil to ensure no water can get in to the cheesecake.

Unbaked cheesecake in a water bath sitting in a larger pan.

Step 10: Move the cheesecake into a pan that is bigger than it is and can also hold water. I use my 10×13 cake pan. If the pan is deep enough, add enough water so that it is about an inch deep. Make sure there is at least half an inch of space between the water and the top of the large pan, to avoid spills. Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees Fahreneheit for 65-75 minutes. It will be done when the sides of the cheesecake start to move away from the spring form pan and the middle jiggles just a bit if you move the pan. Once baked, turn the oven heat off and crack open the oven door just a few inches. Let the cheesecake sit for 1-2 hours before moving it to the counter to cool for another 30 minutes before covering and transferring it to the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, but preferably overnight before serving.

Cheesecake sitting on a cake stand with a jar of caramel sauce, bowl of pecans, and a tea towel. The cheesecake has caramel sauce on top of it.

Step 11: Once chilled, you’ll want to make the same chocolate ganache you made for the bottom layer of the cheesecake. Set aside as you add the caramel sauce over the cheesecake.

The cheesecake now has chocolate ganache added to it.

Step 12: Then add the ganache to a piping bag or Ziploc bag and cut a small hole at the bottom. Pipe the chocolate ganache horizontally, vertically, and then diagonally over the cheesecake.

Sprinkling the cheesecake with toasted chopped pecans.

Step 13: Finally, top with chopped pecans. Have someone else cut the cheesecake for you while you take a nap because you deserve it after creating such a masterpiece!

Helpful Hints and Variations:

  • The Water Bath is Our Friend – It will help prevent cracks in the cheesecake. Make sure you use hot or at least warm water.
  • Toast the Pecans – You do not need to toast the pecans, but if you choose so, they are a simple (though additional) step. To toast them, lay them out flat on a baking sheet and bake them for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to give them a little stir halfway through baking.
  • Avoid Over-Mixing – Over-mixing the batter can result in the cheesecake rising, falling, and then cracking due to the extra air bubbles. Mix the ingredients well, but until they are just mixed.
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients – The cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream should all be at room temperature. They mix better this way and result in a creamy, non-lumpy cheesecake. I like to set the ingredients out about an hour or two before baking.
  • Keep Temperature Changes Subtle – After baking the cheesecake, you will want to turn the oven heat off, remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath, then put the cheesecake right back in the oven and crack open the oven door just a few inches. Leave your cheesecake in the cooling oven for about one to two hours as it gradually cools. I then move it to the counter for another 30-60 minutes before covering with foil and putting it in the fridge.
  • Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Ganache Topping – I included the recipe for my caramel sauce and chocolate ganache. If you do not have the time to make these, store bought caramel sauce and chocolate syrup is a lovely substitute.
  • Chocolate Ganache Layer – This recipe calls for a layer of chocolate ganache. It is such a complementary flavor and I highly recommend making it. But again, if you’re short on time or ingredients, you can leave this out. However, if you have the time and want to level up this cheesecake, double the chocolate ganache ingredients for a thicker layer.
  • Crust – I LOVE the Biscoff cookie crust combined with the chopped pecans in this recipe. It works so well. But so would graham cracker crust or Oreo cookie crust.
  • Slice Perfectly – The best and easiest way to slice the cheesecake so the slices turn out neat, is to run the knife under hot water from the faucet before cutting into the cheesecake.
Turtle cheesecake on cake stand with a slice cut out sitting on a plate in front of it. The picture also shows caramel sauce in a mason jar.

Equipment

Storage

Store the turtle cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If freezing, this cheesecake will be good for up to 2 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and then an airtight container before putting in the freezer.

FAQ

My cheesecake cracked! What should I do?

Top the cheesecake with the caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, and chopped pecans and enjoy every bite of it. 🙂 If you’re looking to avoid cracks ahead of time, check out my Helpful Hints above that goes into detail on this.

Can I make this cheesecake ahead of time?

Yes! I recommend making it the day before to allow yourself time to make it and let it chill long enough in the fridge. Usually, I will take all the steps aside from the topping part, which I save for the day of serving.

Does this cheesecake freeze well?

It does! It stays good in the freezer for up to 2 months if in an airtight container. I take my cheesecake out of the freezer and move it to the fridge the night before we plan to eat it. It’s ready the next day to enjoy again.

Can I make this cheesecake without nuts?

Absolutely, you can. Just leave off the pecans in the crust and as the topping. It will still be delicious.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

A slice of turtle cheesecake on a blue plate.

Turtle Cheesecake with Biscoff Cookie Crust

This decadent caramel Turtle cheesecake has caramel sauce in the cheesecake, a layer of chocolate ganache, and a delicious Biscoff cookie crust with chopped pecans. Topped with even more caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, and pecans, it's sure to be a fast favorite for the holidays or any get-together!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Chill Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 306kcal
Author: Jamie

Ingredients

To make the caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar light or dark brown sugar works
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablepsoons cubed butter salted or unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt if using unsalted butter

For the chocolate ganache layer:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups Biscoff cookies, crushed 32 cookies or an 8.8 ounce package
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped or crushed
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter salted or unsalted

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 32 ounces room temperature cream cheese 4-8 ounce blocks
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar light or dark
  • 4 large room temperature eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup room temperature sour cream

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Make the caramel sauce (skip this step if using store-bought):

  • Add the brown sugar, cubed butter, and heavy cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Whisk continuously as the mixture melts and boils. The caramel will start to thicken after about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla extract towards the end when you're ready to take the pan off the heat. Allow it to cool. It will thicken more as it cools.

Make the chocolate ganache layer:

  • Add the chocolate chips and heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds. Whisk until the chocolate chips are melted into the heavy cream. If not completely melted, microwave again for 5 seconds before whisking again. Once melted and glossy, set the ganache aside while you prepare the crust.

Make the crust:

  • Add the cookies to a food processor and pulse several times until the cookies are crumbs. Alternatively, you can put the cookies in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. You can also add the chopped pecans to the processor and crush them or leave them chopped.
  • Add cookie crumbs, chopped pecans, brown sugar, and melted butter to a mixing bowl. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until the ingredients are combined.
  • Pour the ingredients into a 9-inch springform pan and use the bottom of a drinking glass or your hands to press the crust firmly down on the pan and up the sides of it.
  • Pour the chocolate ganache into the crust and set aside.

Make the cheesecake filling:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes or until the cream cheese is smooth.
  • Add the caramel sauce, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Mix the eggs in one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Finally, add the sour cream. Mix the filling until just combined, making sure there are no lumps. Scrape the inside of the bowl to ensure you combine all the ingredients.
  • Now it's time to prepare the water bath. Double-wrap the bottom of the springform pan with tin foil. Make sure that no water can get into the pan. Move the pan into a larger pan–I use a 10×14 metal cake pan. You can also use a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the large pan until it reaches about an inch in depth. Make sure there is half an inch to a full inch of space between the top of the larger pan and the water.
  • Bake the cheesecake in the middle rack of the oven for 65-75 minutes. You'll know the cheesecake is done when the edges start to move away from the pan and the middle of the cheesecake is a little wobbly if you move or shake it.
  • Once baked, turn the oven off, remove the springform pan from the water bath, put the cheesecake back in the oven, and crack the oven door a few inches. Leave the cheesecake in the gradually cooling oven for 1-2 hours. Then move the cheesecake to room temperature for another 30-60 minutes before covering it with tin foil or plastic wrap and moving to the fridge. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Make the topping:

  • Pour the caramel sauce over the cheesecake and spread it over the top. Prepare the chocolate ganache just as you did for the filling above: add the semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Whisk until the chocolate melts into the cream. If it needs to melt more, heat for another 5 seconds.
  • Pour the ganache into a piping bag or gallon-sized Ziploc bag and cut a small bit from the corner of the bag. Pipe lines vertically, horizontally, and diagonally over the cheesecake. Finally, add the chopped pecans. Slice and serve!

Notes

Helpful Hints for the Perfect Cheesecake:
    • The Water Bath is Our Friend – It will help prevent cracks in the cheesecake. Make sure you use hot or at least warm water.
    • Toast the Pecans – You do not need to toast the pecans, but if you choose so, they are a simple (though additional) step. To toast them, lay them out flat on a baking sheet and bake them for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to give them a little stir halfway through baking.
    • Avoid Over-Mixing – Over-mixing the batter can result in the cheesecake rising, falling, and then cracking due to the extra air bubbles. Mix the ingredients well, but until they are just mixed.
    • Use Room Temperature Ingredients – The cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream should all be at room temperature. They mix better this way and result in a creamy, non-lumpy cheesecake. I like to set the ingredients out about an hour or two before baking.
    • Keep Temperature Changes Subtle – After baking the cheesecake, you will want to turn the oven heat off, remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath, then put the cheesecake right back in the oven and crack open the oven door just a few inches. Leave your cheesecake in the cooling oven for about 1-2 hours as it gradually cools. I then move it to the counter for another 30-60 minutes before covering it with foil and putting it in the fridge.
    • Slice Perfectly – The best and easiest way to slice the cheesecake so the slices turn out neat, is to run the knife under hot water from the faucet before cutting into the cheesecake.
Storage:
  • Store the cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • This cheesecake can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Make sure to wrap it in plastic wrap and then an airtight container. I take my cheesecakes out of the freezer and move them to the fridge the night before eating them. 
Make Ahead:
This cheesecake can be made ahead. I actually recommend making it the day before you plan to serve it. I follow all the steps before the topping part. Leave that for the day of serving. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

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