Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cheesecake Bars and Birthday Fun

Oh yes. Cheesecake time. I usually don't try new recipes for tried and true sweets like cheesecake, but if Bakerella says it's amazing, I find myself needing to know exactly what all the fuss is about. And she absolutely swears by this recipe! However, I did not have Biscoff cookies, so I substituted cinnamon graham crackers for the crust. They worked just fine. :) She also made a chocolate ganache that I could not recreate on my first try. Also, I was a little pressed for time that night. So I nixed the ganache and left the cheesecake au natural. And Hallelujah! Best cheesecake I've had in a long time.


Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake Bars

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about half a package, and cinnamon works great)
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix cookies and sugar together.

Look how packed that brown sugar looks!

Add butter and stir until combined.

Press the mixture into a 13 X 9 pan.

For the Cheesecake:

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.

On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Or, if you don't have a hand mixer, use a whisk.

Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Pour it all on the prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Prepare the ganache.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

8 oz. heavy whipping cream
2 oz. butter
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Heat the cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.

Remove from the heat and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely combined.

Add confectioners’ sugar and beat with a whisk until combined and smooth.

Pour over the cooled cheesecake.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cut the cheesecake into bars and serve.

Makes about 30 bars.

You can see Bakerella's step-by-step photos and recipe here.

I will be on the lookout for those Biscoff cookies for next time! Even though my ganache didn't turn out quite like I planned, this cheesecake recipe was fantastic! But don't take my word for it. Try it yourself!

In other baking-related news, while I did not in fact get the Starry Night cupcakes I was hoping for, Sam came through with shark and whale cupcakes, aided by our wonderful friends, Ariel and Ryan. I do believe my birthday was a fantastic success! Here are the cupcakes:

And a close-up:

Aren't they darling? Some awesome people love me! 

If you decide to try these cheesecake bars, let me know how the ganache turns out! And if you want the secret behind these adorable cupcakes, let me know!

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