I love, love, love cheesecake but I hate to make it. There, I’ve said it. My springform pan always leaks in the bain marie and I wind up with soggy crusts – every time. So, I went looking for a solution and found it! These Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Crust are the perfect way to enjoy both making and eating cheesecakes!
These cheesecake bars have all the flavor and texture that you love without the hassle of a water bath which means no soggy crust! Hallelujah!
There is a little flour added to the crust ingredients for structure, giving you a firmer crust to help support the cake as you lift it out of the pan to cut. It needs a little help to hold together. Be sure to use gluten-free flour if needed!
If you aren’t gluten-free and prefer graham cracker crusts, just substitute graham cracker crumbs for the chocolate cookie crumbs and leave everything else the same. You’ll get a wonderful dessert that you’ve been dreaming of!
Pull the cheesecake bars out of the oven when there is still a little jiggle in the center and let the residual heat finish baking the filling all the way through. You will get a creamier, more luscious cheesecake.
I used gluten-free chocolate cookie crumbs for my crust that I found on King Arthur Flour.com. They come in a convenient 8 oz size that makes a perfect 9-inch pie crust. Very convenient and delicious!
If I don’t have the crumbs on hand, I like to use Pamela’s Simple Bites Gluten-Free Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies and grind them myself in my food processor. Beware, they are delicious and you’ll be tempted to eat them all!
If you have any trouble getting the parchment to release from the pan, set the pan on a hot towel or heating pad on low to warm up the butter. It should lift right out. Set the bars on a cutting board before slicing.
If you have summer potlucks coming up, these cheesecake bars are the perfect dessert to take. Easy to eat and they will be inhaled. Just be sure to keep them cold until serving!
I hope you love these cheesecake bars with chocolate crust as much as The Artist and I do! They are deceptively good – not so much to look at, but boy oh boy are they delicious!
Kitchen Tools I use to make this recipe:
- Food Processor
- Stand Mixer
- Parchment Paper
- 8-Inch Square Baking Pan
- 10-inch Sharp Knife
- Silicone Spatula
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
To get the cleanest slices on any sticky or soft center dessert, run a long knife under hot water, wipe it dry and make your first cut. Pull the knife straight up, run under hot water, wipe it dry and cut again. Rinse the knife after each cut.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, place whole eggs (in their shells) in a bowl of hot water and let them sit for about 5 minutes. They will have warmed up quite a bit and will incorporate with the cream cheese much more smoothly.
You can use either a gluten-free flour, like rice or sorghum flour, or a gluten-free flour blend in the crust. Xanthan gum (or psyllium husk powder) helps keep the crust from crumbling apart. I like Pamela’s Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies to make a chocolate crumb crust. They pulverize easily in your food processor or with a rolling pin in a plastic resealable bag.
- 2 cups (8 oz) ground Oreo cookies (without the cream centers; about 2 sleeves) or gluten-free chocolate cookies
- 2 tbsp flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum or psyllium husk powder, only if using gluten-free flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 16 oz (two 8 oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter an 8-inch square pan and line it with parchment, leaving two ends extending beyond the edges to create a sling. Butter the parchment.
- Prepare the Crust: Pulse whole cookies (without the cream centers) in a food processor about 30 seconds until very finely ground. Add the flour, xanthan (if using), and sugar, along with the melted butter, pulsing to combine. You can also do this by hand if you're using pre-ground crumbs. When they are the consistency of damp sand, sprinkle over the bottom of the pan, pressing into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely in the pan.
- Make the Filling: In the bowl of you stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined before adding the next one. Scrape the bowl and beater thoroughly. Be sure there are no lumps of cream cheese remaining. Add in the sour cream and vanilla, mixing until combined and creamy. Scrape the bowl and beater, mixing in any solids. Do not over beat or you will add too much air to the filling.
- Pour the filling into the crust, spreading it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until the edges are set but the center still jiggles a little when gently shaken, about 35 to 40 minutes. Spin the baking pan halfway through the baking so the bars bake evenly.
- Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled through, at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
- Using the parchment sling, gently lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into 16 pieces and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers, covered, up to 4 days.
Filling adapted from an America's Test Kitchen recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 195mg Carbohydrates: 45g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 23g Protein: 5g
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