Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cheesecake Bars


I first made these for our New Year's Eve party and to say they were a hit would be an understatement. I wanted to make Cheesecake bites but I was never very successful at getting cheesecake to set enough that I would be able to serve them as individual bars.

Later that week, I was reading the 2008 Holiday Baking edition of Cook's Illustrated and lo and behold, they had exactly what I was looking for. This is now my go to recipe for anything cheesecake. There is also no reason this could not be served as an actual cheesecake. I just like to eat with my hands so I prefer the bar version.

6 T butter, melted & cooled
7 whole graham crackers, broken into 1 inch pieces
3 T light brown sugar
2 T AP flour
1/8 t salt

2 8 oz blocks cream cheese, softened
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c sour cream
2 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. (Apparently the recipe calls for the oven to be preheated to 325 but I am obviously dyslexic and read that as 350. They turned out fine though.)

In a square dish, make a foil sling and grease well. Bonus points if your dish has a lid of some kind.

In a food processor (I use my small one; greatest kitchen gadget ever; thanks mother-in-law!), pulse the graham crackers to a fine crumb consistency. Add the remainder of the crust ingredients and pulse until well mixed. With a spatula, spread the graham cracker mixture into an even layer in the bottom of your pan and smash down so that it is packed fairly tightly. You just don't want it to be all crumbly.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until fragrant. When it's done, set aside.

While the crust is baking...

Put your cream cheese in a stand mixer. Beat with the flat beater on medium for 2-3 minutes or until it's creamy looking. Add your sugar and mix for another minute or until it's creamier. Resist the urge to eat this with a spoon.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Beat in sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla until incorporated.

Pour filling over crust and spread evenly into the corners. Bake until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly. About 35-40 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

Once you take it out the oven, let it cool completely (at least 2 hours) and then cover (hopefully with that lid I mentioned earlier) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours but no more than 24.

Remove with the foil sling. Put your pan away that you don't have to wash due to that awesome foil invention. Place the entire foil contraption on a cutting board and cut into desired squares. They are rich so I don't recommend cutting them too big.

Hide from husband and kids so you can eat them all yourself.

In theory, because of the richness, one batch should go pretty far. However, Mr. ShoeFanatic and his amigo usually manage to wipe them out in about 5 seconds so I usually make 2 batches to make sure I have enough for guests. But then again, they are barbarians.

Why are you even still reading? You should be at the store getting the ingredients to make this!


1 comment:

  1. I love cheesecake but always feel guilty eating a whole slice. I love the idea of cheesecake bars! They really do make a great party food!