Countertop Creations: Butter Pecan Cheesecake

by | Dec 14, 2022 | Countertop Creations

Photo by Liz Chrisman

Wow your guests with Aarah’s Brown Butter Pecan Cheesecake by following this month’s ATU Hospitality Administration submission to ABOUT’s recipe pages. Aarah Shannon is a freshman pursuing a Bachelor’s with events emphasis.


Butter Pecans

    • 1 1 /2 cups finely chopped pecans
    • 2 tbsp light brown sugar, loosely packed
    • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted

Cheesecake filling

    • 6 tbsp salted butter
    • 24 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
    • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
    • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
    • 4 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1 cup toasted pecans (above)


    • 2 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
    • ½ cup salted butter, melted
    • 3 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cinnamon whipped cream

    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
    • ½ cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Optional caramel sauce

    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste, *if using salted butter reduce to ½ tsp 1/2 cup half and half, or use equal parts heavy cream and milk 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions: Toast the pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Combine the melted butter, pecans and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl and toss to coat.

3. Spread the pecans evenly onto the cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until toasted.

4. Set pecans aside to cool.

Brown the butter

5. To make the browned butter for the cheesecake filling, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the butter occasionally so that it cooks evenly.

6. Cook the butter until it turns a nice toasty brown. It will foam up at first, but it will eventually subside and you’ll have browned butter. Some of the brown bits may separate, but that’s ok. Once the butter has browned, pour it into a heat-proof bowl and set it aside to cool.


7. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.

8. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.

9. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

10. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in.

Optional caramel sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly or until thickened and no longer watery for about 6-9 minutes. Keep in mind it thickens more as it cools.

Cheesecake filling

11. Reduce oven temperature to 300° F.

12. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugars and flour on low speed until well completely combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

13. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and browned butter and mix on low speed until well combined.

14. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed tomake sure everything is well combined.

15. Stir in 1 cup of the toasted pecans.

16. Pour the cheesecake batter evenly into the crust.

17. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.

18. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.

19. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.

20. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.

21. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath wrapping and refrigerate until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight.

22. To finish off the cheesecake, make the whipped cream. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon to a large mixer bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Careful not to overmix or the cream will separate.

23. Pipe swirls of whipped cream onto the cheesecake and add optional caramel sauce. Finish off with the remaining toasted pecans. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


    • It is important that all the cold ingredients are room temperature in order for everything to combine evenly. To bring the ingredients to room temperature quickly, put them individually in sealed containers under warm water for 20-30 minutes.
    • After each ingredient is added they should only be mixed until combined. Overmixing will allow extra air into the batter, causing the cake to crack when baking.
    • To ensure that the water bath does not soak through into the cheesecake, add a double broiler bag to the outside of the cheesecake around the foil, and secure it tightly with a twist tie.

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