21 October 2013

Chocolate Topped Cheesecake Bars


You know what's awesome about these cheesecake bars?  Everything.   A huge cheesecake to crust ratio since the filling is the best part.  A crust that is actually tasty since it's salty and sweet.  A nice layer of chocolate on top just because there's no need to not have a layer of chocolate on top.  You can cover it with caramel and pecans if you want to make it into a real dessert or you can just lop off a hunk and eat it with your fingers.  You gotta love a dessert that's willing to work with you.

I'm not usually a huge fan of cheesecake crust.  It's with good reason, too.  Most people just mix up some graham cracker crumbs with a little butter, shove it into the bottom of the pan, and call it a day.  Standard cheesecake crusts are pretty boring, dry affairs.  This crust is still super simple, but infinitely more interesting.  This crust is a combination of crushed pretzels and vanilla wafers instead of graham cracker crumbs.  It's salty, sweet, rich, buttery, and altogether more substantial and interesting than graham cracker crusts.

Chocolate Topped Cheesecake Bars
makes about 30 bars

Print me, Please!!!

for the crust:

1/2 cup finely crushed or ground pretzels
1/2 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the filling
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

for the topping:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Line an 11 x 7" baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Spray the foil lightly with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the crust ingredients and stir until the crumbs are well moistened.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Place the pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

On medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until very light and fluffy, 3 minutes.  Add the sour cream, flour, and vanilla; mix well.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.  Pour the filling over the prepared crust and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is barely set and the cheesecake is barely golden around the edges.  Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.  To make the topping, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.  Stir every 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in the oil until completely incorporated.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the warm cheesecake and spread in a thin, even layer over the top.  Place in the refrigerator to cool at least 4 hours and up to overnight. 

Use the foil overhang to remove the cheesecake from the pan.  Cut into squares to serve.  Drizzle with caramel sauce and/or nuts if desired.  Store in tightly covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

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