Cheesecake Bars for the Chocolate Lover

Life imploded. First, all of my wild, law-student, world-traveling friends returned to lovely Denver. And then people got married. And then, school started, and I moved into my brand new classroom which was supposed to be renovated over the summer…but it wasn’t done. Neither was the rest of the school. There was no furniture in my room because the previous teacher was not leaving on amicable terms and didn’t label any of the furniture belonging to my room, leaving me to run around the school trying to claim things that looked familiar from when I interviewed. And then, of course, the students arrived, with dust still in corners and a strong new-paint smell.

So, baking took a temporary hiatus.

But then a friend asks me to bake something scrumptious for her friend’s bridal shower, and I was thrilled to bake and emerge from my lesson-planning, furniture-lacking existence. I had recently seen a cheesecake bar recipe with chocolate ganache, and thought it sounded perfect. I’ve never really been much for cheesecake, myself. I vastly prefer pure chocolatey anything. And chocolate cheesecake is never enough. But, this recipe involved ganache. And chocolate ganache is ALWAYS chocolatey enough.

The bars start with a lovely cookie-crumb crust. I’ve always been a graham-cracker crust kinda gal, but this cookie-crumb crust completely sold me on cookie crusts forever. I think what sealed the deal is the fact that I actually spent a few more dollars and bought some high quality shortbread cookies.

Also, it was WAY fun beating the living daylights out of those cookies. Of course, you could make it easy and put the cookies in the food processor and then they’ll end up all nice and smooth. But this is much more fun. 🙂

Once you make the crust, time to delve into the cheesecake.

Did I mention this is not a health food?

Did I mention this is really not a health food? Cream cheese, flour and sugar in one bowl never is good for one’s waistline.

Blend together until fluffy and cheesecakey. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla Poor over the crust and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool. You’ll know the cheesecake is done when the middle still jiggles a bit when removed. You do not want to overcook it.

While it’s cooling, whip up the chocolate ganache. Combine whipping cream and butter in a saucepan and heat until just before boiling. Pour over semi-sweet chocolate and let sit for one minute to let the chocolate melt. Whisk together until smooth. Add a little powdered sugar to sweeten. Pour over the cheesecake, and refrigerate for a few hours or preferably overnight.

Slice and serve! It’s decadent, it’s chocolatey.

Unfortunately, I have no picture of the final product, but rest assured, it got rave reviews. And was oh so delish.

Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed shortbread cookies
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter

Mix crushed cookies and sugar in a greased 13×9 baking pan. Add melted butter and combine. Using a spoon, press into the bottom of the pan.

Cheesecake

  • 3 packages cream cheese (8 oz), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Combine cream cheese, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until just combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined. Pour over prepared crust and bake at 325 for 45 minutes until middle is still a little jiggly when removed. Let cool.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips or in small pieces)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy cream and butter. Bring to just before boiling and pour over chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Let sit for 1 minute, and then whisk until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar. Pour over cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate, preferably overnight. Cut and serve cool.

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