Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars
Active time: 20 min. Total time: 7 hours, including 4 hours chilling
Yield: Serves 16 (serving size: 1 bar)
Our Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars are the perfect union of gingerbread and cheesecake. They’re perfect for the holidays and easy to whip together, and the bar form helps cut down on some of cheesecake’s richness. The crust gets a special touch from crushed gingersnaps, while the cheesecake itself is full of warm spices and a deep molasses flavor. The filling is appealing to both the eyes and the palate—the molasses comes through and is compounded by the aromatics in the spices, allowing these cheesecake bars to taste and smell just like warm gingerbread cookies fresh from the oven. The spices all work together to achieve a balanced flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the cheesecake. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times when making the filling, as chunks of cream cheese can go unmixed. The molasses will definitely sink to the bottom of the bowl, so be sure to stir it in well so it fully incorporates. The crust can easily be made ahead of time. For super easy cleanup, line your baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps (from about 30 cookies [6 1/2 oz.])(such as Murray)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3large eggs
- 2 tablespoons unsulphured dark molasses
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
How to Make It
Prepare the Gingersnap Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Evenly coat foil with cooking spray. Stir together crushed gingersnaps, butter, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Freeze 10 minutes. Place baking dish on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until crust is fragrant and set, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking dish to a wire rack; let crust cool completely, about 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Prepare the Cheesecake Filling: Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and sour cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add vanilla; beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to low; add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just incorporated, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed and being careful to not overbeat. Measure 1/2 cup mixture into a small bowl, and set aside.
Using a rubber spatula, fold molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into remaining cream cheese mixture in large bowl until molasses is fully incorporated. Pour into prepared crust. Dollop with reserved cream cheese mixture in small bowl; stir top layer gently using a knife to create desired swirled design. Bake at 325°F until filling edges are set and center jiggles, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and chill until set, about 4 hours. Remove cheesecake from baking dish using aluminum foil overhang. Cut into 16 bars. Serve. Bars may be covered in plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator up to 3 days.
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