Treat Day – Week 6 (Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars!)


Hi Bears & Baking fans! This week the Bears head to Miami and I am super excited for this game, if I do say so myself.  My single girlfriends and I started a little tradition of our own several years ago where we go to an away Bears game and see one new NFL stadium every season.  This year we chose the Miami game & the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.  So I’ll be heading out on Friday and ready to cheer my face off for the Bears on Sunday!  I can’t wait.

When I think of Miami or Southern Florida, I think of Key Lime.  So my initial thought was to make Key Lime Pie bars for the team, but then I talked to my brother and he flat out said without hesitation, “Nobody here likes lime or lemon, so, no, don’t make those”.  Well alrighty then…Ha! Sometimes I wonder if my brother just tells me stuff like this because HE doesn’t like something. Haha! But I always listen to what he says, since after all, he is the one getting and giving the feedback from the guys week after week.  With that in mind, I switched it up and made something I know that the players and staff always like: CARAMEL.  I have an awesome recipe for a spring form Dulce de Leche cheesecake that I was actually making for a local restaurant in Roscoe Village, so I searched for a similar recipe but in the form of bars, and came across one that worked out perfectly! So this is what I sent to Halas Hall this morning and am sharing with all of  you today.  They are easy, and taste just like my spring form cheesecake, but take a fraction of the time to bake, and they can be cut up into nice little “grab-n-go” treat bars.  And no water bath is required while baking these.  My brother actually just texted me a little while ago and said, “They LOVE LOVE LOVE the Caramel cheesecake!!”  So, I am happy and proud to say that treat day week 6 is a hit!  I hope all of you find time to make these, because they are delicious and after all, you deserve them! 🙂

Here are a few tips I have for you when you make these at home:

  1. The recipe calls for “purchased dulce de leche”.  Don’t even bother, unless you have a name brand that you know and absolutely love that is available to you at retail.  If not, I ALWAYS make my own dulce de leche and would recommend you do so as well.  All you need to do is purchase Sweetened Condensed Milkd (my favorite is Eagle Brand, because I like their easy open can lids) in the 14oz size tin cans.  Simply take the paper label off  of your can and put it in a pot covered with water.  Bring the water to a boil, and then lower your heat to a slow low boil, almost to a simmer, and keep it on the stove cooking for 3 hours.  3 hours will give you a thick, rich and creamy caramel which is perfect for these cheesecake bars! I boil 4-5 cans at a time and keep any unopened cans in the fridge for easy use the next time I want to make these bars or a spring form cheesecake.  And if you have a half used can, just take a glass mason jar and keep the leftover caramel in the jar in the fridge.  Oh, and when you go to boil these, lay the cans on their side – because that way they won’t rattle around in your pot making noise driving you crazy for 3 straight hours!
  2. I always use salted butter – even though this recipe calls for unsalted
  3. I ALWAYS use KRAFT Philadelphia cream cheese – full fat, and make sure it is room temp.  It just works perfectly in cheesecake recipes.  That is my opinion.
  4. Your eggs should really be room temperature too, but if not, you can put them in a bowl and run some warm water over them for a few minutes.
  5. If you are making these a day or two ahead of time, like myself, I  would hold off sprinkling your sea salt until the very last minute before serving, otherwise it will  just dissolve into your caramel topping, and it could possibly taste too salty.  And you can omit the sea salt altogether… it is not mandatory…these bars are delicious with or without it! I omitted the salt today.
  6. The caramel can get a little runny, so when I serve these I put them in foil cupcake liners which make them easy to pick up and eat on the go.

Ok, here is the recipe from a blogger named The Recipe Critic: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Thank you for reading my blog and GO BEARS!!!!!!


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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

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