Thursday, March 24, 2011
Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Oh my. Good golly. Holy crap. That is along the lines of what I thought when I tasted my first bite of these Oreo Cheesecake Bars. And then I might have done a little happy dance around the kitchen. But I won’t cop to that – cause that would be embarrassing. And I do plenty enough to embarrass myself on a regular basis. I don’t need to add sugar-induced, hallelujah dancing to the list. So let’s just say, if you are prone to busting out some rockin’ dance moves when feeling euphoric, you might want to sample your first bite of these bars when no one else is home. I’m just sayin’.
Because these creamy, crunchy, cheesecake-y babies are so crazy good. They are I-would-eat-lettuce-for-a-week-to-justify-eating-them good. They are so good I was glad I was baking them for other people. And that I had friends to invite over to eat the rest. And that the few that remained fit in a small spot in the back of the freezer. Cause there’s no way these bars can have a regular seat at my currently healthy-eating table.
If you are in the mood for a treat, however, run to the kitchen as fast as you can and get to work. But don’t worry – there’s little work to be done. First you need to make an easy chocolate cookie crust using crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos or something similar if you are like me and aren’t a fan of some of the ingredients in Oreos). Then you make the creamy, tangy, rich, and dreamy cheesecake layer. Pour the cheesecake on top of the crust, and bake. All you have to do after that is let it cool down, then chill it til the bars are very cold. (You may need to leave the house for this part to resist digging in too soon.)
When they’re ready, cut them up and prepare to bliss out. Just make sure you invite some friends over to help you (after the first potentially embarrassing bite), because this recipe is very rich and makes a lot. Not that that’s ever a bad thing.
One Year Ago: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette – The last thing I cooked in our old apartment!
Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod, originally from You Made That Dessert?
1 lb. package chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos)
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a couple of inches hanging over the two shorter ends. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
For the Crust:
Place 28 cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, and stir in the butter. Stir until well combined.
Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Use your fingers or the flat bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs into an even layer.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and cool on a wire rack. (Leave the oven on.)
For the Cheesecake:
Coarsely chop the remaining cookies. (You can also pulse them a few times in the food processor, but I liked the control over the size I got by chopping them myself.) Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), add the cream cheese and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again until thoroughly combined.
Add the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat until well blended, then scrape the bowl and beat again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat one last time.
Stir in the reserved chopped cookies.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center jiggles just a little when you gently shake the pan.
Cool the pan on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature – about an hour. When cool, cover the pan with foil and transfer to the refrigerator (or freezer if you are in a hurry). Chill completely – at least 3 hours or more. To cut the bars, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang. Place the foil on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut the bars. Rinse the knife in warm water and wipe dry after each slice.
Keep the bars refrigerated until ready to serve.
Makes at least 36 bars.