Tag Archives: cheesecake

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake BarsAfter declaring that I was going to tackle my fear of cheesecakes (more accurately, the water bath/bain marie) last summer…well, I didn’t do that. I made you a bunch of other stuff though, so I’m not that sorry about it.

Perhaps this will be the year I make a real, mile-high, baked in a water bath, dreamy, creamy, wonderful cheesecake. But perhaps not. I’m going get my cheesecake fix either way though with these Oreo Cheesecake Bars.Oreo Cheesecake BarsNot only are they freaking delicious—Oreos + cheesecake, duh—but they are waaaaay easier to make than a traditional cheesecake. They bake in just 30 minutes and cool in 3 hours (seems like nothing when you remember that most cheesecakes require 8-24!) and require exactly seven ingredients. That’s right, all you need to make a batch of these of these bars are Oreos, melted butter, cream cheese, sugar, an egg, sour cream, and vanilla. And time. And a functioning oven. And a refrigerator.

But like, ten things isn’t much to ask when cheesecake is involved.Oreo Cheesecake BarsThese are incredibly simple to make and they’re the perfect treat to have in the fridge all weekend. Crumbly Oreo crust and a thin layer of tangy cheesecake studded with more Oreos and you didn’t have to use a water bath? Is this real life?!

Yes. Yes, it is. And it is delicious.Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake Bars
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

Crust:
24 whole Oreos
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 whole Oreos, cut/broken into shards

This recipe requires a 3 hour chill after baking. Plan accordingly.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil. Grease well. Set aside.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into in even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes to set. Let cool a few minutes while you prepare the cheesecake.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg, sour cream, and vanilla, until mixture is smooth. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in Oreo pieces, holding back a few for the top, if desired.

Spoon cheesecake mixture over the crust and carefully spread to the edges of the pan. Dot the top with reserved Oreo pieces, if desired. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until the center just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool to room temperature on a rack. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before slicing and serving. For cleanest slices, wipe your knife’s blade clean between cuts.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For best storage, layer bars with sheets of wax paper. They may also be frozen for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Oreo Cheesecake BarsOreo Cheesecake Bars

Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsIt’s a tradition of mine to make a red velvet treat for Oscar Night, which happens to be this Sunday. It’s sort of my “thing.” Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsYes, I know the Oscars are silly, but I, too, am silly. Also, I love a theme, especially when it means I get to watch 15 or 20 movies, cheer/curse/cry at my TV and eat red velvet baked goods. There was once a whole meal I made only for this occasion, but over the years it’s been reduced down to a “red velvet something.” This is what restraint looks like for me.

As far as the red velvet something goes, it could be the classic cake or cookies or a cookie cake—it’s just got to have that perfect mix of chocolate and vanilla flavors, preferably have a cream cheese element, and be an astonishing shade of crimson. Or, as I like to explain it, it has to be red like the red carpet.Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsThis year’s treat? Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints. They’re exactly what they sound like—red velvet cookies with little wells of cheesecake baked into their centers—and they are also as delicious as you’d expect. Chocolate, vanilla and tangy cheesecake are a match made in heaven. And also my kitchen. And soon, yours.Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsThe base for these cookies is a slight variation on my Red Velvet Cut-Out Cookie dough; as with my sugar cookie-based thumbprints, the “variation” is a reduction of baking powder. The dough is mixed ahead of time and chilled before being scooped, formed into balls, and rolled in sugar for both texture and sparkle.

I mean, I guess you could skip the roll in sugar if you want, but you’d be missing out on a crisp sugar crust/sugar cookie/squidgy cheesecake textural experience *and* sparkle. Sparkle is very important on Oscar Night.Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsNext come the thumbprints or, if you want to keep things transparent, spoon-prints. Each sugar-crusted dough ball is indented with the back of a rounded 1/2 teaspoon measure. You could, of course, do this with your thumb, but a spoon is a more accurate (and less messy) tool for the job.Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsThe cookies are baked at a fairly low temperature (300F for ten minutes) before the thumbprints are deepened and widened with the back of a 1 teaspoon measure. Oh, and filled with cheesecake ♥️Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsAfter ten more minutes in the oven, the cookies will be set and the cheesecake will be a little puffy. Let them cool to room temperature—the centers will deflate a bit—before chilling for at least 45 minutes. You want those little wells of cheesecake to be nice and cold when you’re snacking on them mid-Oscar broadcast.Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsIf you don’t have traditions and superstitions (and an entire friendship) based around an awards show, you can make these Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints for Valentine’s Day. They’re the right color *and* they’re full of cheesecake. Nothing says love like cheesecake.Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints
makes 3.5 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red gel food coloring

Cheesecake Filling:
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Rolling:
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated sugar, followed by the egg, egg yolk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and gel food coloring. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Make the cheesecake filling. In a small mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg yolk and vanilla. Transfer to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag). Set aside.

Place rolling sugar in a small bowl.

Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Roll each ball in sugar and place at least 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Use the back of a rounded 1/2 teaspoon to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just carefully press/pinch big cracks back together with your fingers.

Bake cookies 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven, then carefully press the back of a rounded 1 teaspoon measuring spoon into the centers again. Pipe cheesecake filling into each well. Carefully tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to release large air bubbles. Bake cookies another 10 minutes, until cheesecake is set and a bit puffed.

Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Cheesecake will deflate a bit. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Refrigerate cookies for at least 45 minutes, until chilled, before serving. Leftovers may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.Red Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsRed Velvet Cheesecake ThumbprintsRed Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadHas anyone else’s week been five years long? Mine started with two babkas, three layer cakes and a Rosh Hashanah dinner, continued with some early morning construction in my apartment, and was followed up with a neck-ache and a midweek heatwave.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadThe good news is that NYC weather is finally starting to get with the autumnal program (I am so tired of summer clothes) and that my only plans for this weekend are to take my visiting godparents out for lunch and watch postseason baseball. Then two more work days before going on vacation next Wednesday—it can’t get here soon enough! But more on that later. For now, let’s talk about Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake. Swirled. Pumpkin. Bread.

Perfectly spiced pumpkin bread with a tunnel of creamy cheesecake running through it.

The easy autumnal quickbread/loaf cake/whatever of my dreams. Call me “basic” all you want. This stuff is delicious.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread begins with a half-recipe of my Pumpkin Bundt Cake. I went back and forth trying to determine if I should call this a pumpkin cake or a pumpkin bread, eventually determining that my Pumpkin Bundt batter is what many bakers would use for a pumpkin quickbread and ohmygawdthisexplanationissodull.

Anyway, the batter is from a cake recipe, but it’s baked in a loaf pan and I’m calling it a quickbread, okay? Okay.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadTo assemble, you’ll need the pumpkin batter and a small batch of cheesecake—don’t worry, they’re both easy to make. Set aside a cup of the pumpkin batter and put the rest in your loaf pan. Top it with the cheesecake, followed by the remaining batter. Swirl it all with a thin knife or skewer before baking for the better part of an hour. The bread will be puffed when it comes out of the oven, but sink a bit as it cools. This is just the cheesecake buckling a bit—not a bad thing.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadThis bread needs to be cooled at room temperature and then chilled in the refrigerator, making it an ideal make-ahead treat. Don’t rush to serve this. Pumpkin is a flavor that blooms over time and nobody loves room temperature (or warm 😬) cheesecake. Good things come to those who wait.

This is a very good thing.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread
makes one 9×5-inch loaf, about 10-12 servings

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pumpkin Batter:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup pure pumpkin purée (I like Libby’s)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the two long sides for ease of removal. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Set aside.

Make the pumpkin batter. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Whisk in light brown and granulated sugars followed by oil, vanilla, and pumpkin purée. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Set aside 1 cup of batter.

Pour remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula or wooden spoon. Dollop cheesecake over the top and smooth again. Spoon reserved batter over the top and smooth again. Use a skewer or long, thin knife to swirl the batter a bit.

Tap the full pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a few spots comes out with just a few moist crumbs (not soupy batter).

Let cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, until chilled through. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan and use the parchment overhang to lift out the bread. Discard parchment. Slice and serve.

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin BreadCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes

Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesThree years ago, I went home to Texas for three weeks over Christmas. I was there for the holidays and a family wedding a week into the new year, and I had determined that it was easier to spend an extended period in my home state than it was to fly back and forth. My little sister was home for her winter break too, so we had an odd period of time where our childhood living arrangements were real again, except that everyone had a driver’s license and their own bathroom this time.

Our parents were happy to have us home, even though three weeks is a long time to have company. They made sure we were fed and had transport and as much access to their miniature schnauzer as we wanted (which was all of the access), and requested little in return. In fact, the only thing that was asked of me was to teach my mom to make a cheesecake. Her mom, my grandmother, made wonderful cheesecakes, so I liked the idea that my mom would know how to make one too.Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes

Of course, there was one problem: I had never made a traditional cheesecake. I still haven’t. Sure, I have baked layers and swirls of it into other things and I have even made a couple of vegan cheesecakes, but I have never done the full springform in a water bath thing. I know it’s not technically difficult, but I live in fear that water will seep into my cake no matter how tightly-wrapped it is and that the work and necessary 24-hour chill will be for nothing. Other people are afraid of pie crust. I am afraid of cheesecake.Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesBut! But. I was going to make a cheesecake with my mom, even going so far as to have my older sister give her a Fat Daddio cheesecake pan for Christmas. I was going to do this thing. And then…I didn’t because we found 43 other ways to fill our time and there was the wedding and then it was time to go back to NYC.Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesNow it’s Mother’s Day weekend three years later and I still owe my mom a cheesecake. I remain reticent about attempting a big one (yes, I know it’s silly) and I don’t know when I’ll be with her long enough to carve out the time, so I have made it easy on both of us and made miniature versions that don’t involve a foil-wrapped pan. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I made you six cheesecakes.Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesMini Mason Jar CheesecakesThis small-batch recipe makes just enough to fill six 4-ounce mason jars, but you can easily scale it up depending on your needs. The cheesecake itself is remarkably easy to make—it has a total of nine ingredients and two major steps (both of which are easy), and most of the time commitment is spent waiting for things to cool.Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesMini Mason Jar CheesecakesAs for the water bath (“bain-marie”) step that I fear so much, it’s a breeze. Mason jars are water-tight, so my fear of soggy cheesecake foiled-by-foil doesn’t apply here. These mini desserts bake up evenly and beautifully every time!Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesThey are delicious, too: rich, creamy and tangy with a brown sugary graham cracker crust. You can top them with anything you like: strawberry-rhubarb compote, cherry pie filling, whipped cream, peanut butter caramel…anything! I kept it simple by piling on fresh berries. Why create more work for myself when the perfect topping is sitting in the produce department, you know?!Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesAside from being cute, delicious, and portion-controlled, I love that these cheesecakes are portable. Just press a little plastic wrap to their surfaces after chilling, screw on the mason jar lids, and pack them into a cooler for premium picnicking. Pack the topping(s) separately and let everyone customize their own!Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesSo, after 3.5 years of blogging, there is my first “traditional” cheesecake! Maybe I’ll be brave enough for the real deal before Labor Day. Got any leak-proofing tips for me? Leave them in the comments!Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesHappy Mother’s Day to all those celebrating, especially my cute mom ❤Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes

Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes
makes 6 small cheesecakes

Crust:
9 graham crackers
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:
1 8-ounce brick full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Garnish:
seasonal berries
strawberry-rhubarb compote
whipped cream
peanut butter caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 6 4-ounce mason jars.

Make the crust. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until no large pieces remain. Add light brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Process until the mixture resembles wet sand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Place 3 tablespoons of the crust mixture into eat prepared mason jar. Press down to form a crust. Place mason jar crusts in a high-rimmed dish. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg, sour cream, and vanilla, until mixture is smooth.

Place 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture in each mason jar. Use the back of a spoon to lightly smooth out the tops, then tap each one on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Return jars to the high-rimmed pan, and place the pan on a counter near the oven.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Carefully pour water into the baking pan until it is halfway up the sides of the cheesecakes. Do not get water in the mason jars. Carefully move pan into the oven. Bake 30 minutes until puffed and ever-so-slightly golden.

Carefully remove pan from oven. Use tongs to remove mason jar cheesecakes to a rack. Do not get water in the mason jars.

Let cheesecakes cool completely on a rack. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. If not serving immediately, press plastic wrap to the surface. Garnish with berries or other desired topping before serving.

Store leftover cheesecakes in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To freeze, press plastic wrap to the surfaces of the cheesecakes and screw on mason jar lids. Freeze for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in a dish of lukewarm water at room temperature for 90 minutes.Mini Mason Jar CheesecakesMini Mason Jar CheesecakesMini Mason Jar Cheesecakes

Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake BlondiesI have been debating for three days whether or not I should post these Cheesecake Blondies or use Independence Day as a “free pass” to take a rare blog day off.Cheesecake BlondiesCheesecake Blondies won out though, because they are the perfect treat to sink your teeth into while you watch the fireworks. Creamy cheesecake and chewy brown butter blondie in near-equal layers? Sign. me. up.Cheesecake BlondiesAnother great thing about these blondies? They are super easy to make and bake up in just 25 minutes!Cheesecake BlondiesThe most difficult part of making Cheesecake Blondies is waiting for them to chill. Those three hours can seem eternal, but they are completely necessary—nobody likes warm cheesecake.Cheesecake BlondiesOnce the chill time is up, slice up the blondies and revel in their cuteness. Chocolate chips have a way of making things more adorable, don’t they?Cheesecake BlondiesMake a batch of Cheesecake Blondies for your holiday cookout or pack a box into a cooler and take them on the go! You and your friends and family will love the combination of tangy cheesecake and sweet, brown buttery blondie ❤ Cheesecake BlondiesHappy Fourth of July!Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 9-16 blondies

Blondie Batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for scattering

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with foil and grease lightly. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl.

Add brown sugar to the brown butter and stir to combine. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula to stir in flour and salt, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Pour on top of blondie batter and smooth to the edges of the pan. Scatter additional chocolate chips over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark or if anything begins browning too quickly. Blondies are ready when the cheesecake just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until completely cold.

Use foil overhang to lift blondies out of the pan. Carefully peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftover Cheesecake Blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For best storage, separate layers with wax paper.Cheesecake Blondies