Desserts are front and center at any holiday occasion. Cookies and tarts, fruits cakes and mousse, and of course my favorite–cheesecake!

I don’t make cheesecake often because for one thing it’s freaking expensive, and two it is SO decadent that I cannot keep it in the house, so I limit them to holidays. Mini egg cheesecake for Easter, pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and cranberry cheesecake for Christmas. This year though, I am whipping up a new one for you!

This rich and creamy dessert is sure to please even the pickiest eater. Perfect for potlucks, make them into bars for a cookie exchange, or as the perfect end to a holiday feast, this cheesecake will get you ALL the love this Christmas!

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup crushed pecans

1/3 cup butter

3 tbsp brown sugar

Filling

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon

1 tsp vanilla

Topping

2 tbsp butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cups crushed pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan begin melting butter. Using a food processor, pulse together pecans and graham crackers and stir into melted butter.

Spread graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of a prepped  9 inch springform pan. Press down firmly and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.

Using a stand mixer, whip egg whites with two tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks are formed. Set aside.

Cream together cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, lemon and vanilla. Next, gently fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture.

Before pouring filling over your crust, wrap the bottom of the pan in tin foil as it will bake in a water bath. Hold the pan an few inches off the counter and drop it two or three times to smooth the surface and remove air bubbles.

Place in a dish (I used a casserole dish) roughly filled with two inches of water. Bake in the oven. After 30-35 minutes, turn off the oven and open the front door to release some heat. Close door and allow cheesecake to set in the oven for another 30 minutes or until the edges begin to round.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before adding the pecan toffee topping.

For the topping:

In a medium saucepan, lightly toast pecans. Set aside and continue with your sauce by melting the butter into that now preheated pan. Be careful to cook on a low temperature as to not burn your butter. Once melted, add in brown sugar. Whisk until your sauce becomes silky and smooth. You are going to want to let this boil approximately two minutes while stirring on occasion. Add in your cream and whisk. Let simmer two minutes to allow sauce to become sticky. Remove from heat, fold in crushed pecans.

Add to the top of your cheesecake, serve, sit back, and enjoy all the oohs and yums that are sure to follow!