Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Hybrids are awesome.

Ok, let’s back up… BAKING hybrids are awesome. I’m not talking Prius’ here people.

I’m talking about a perfect mix between a warm chocolate chip cookie and delicious cheesecake. Kind of like a cheesecake sandwich if you will. You read right. It is possible. It is delicious.

It could possibly be the best hybrid invention ever. Next to the Chevy Volt. *Swoon* but that’s a whole other discussion for another time.

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These actually come together quickly. There is no refrigerating the cookie dough or making a water bath for the cheesecake. It’s make and bake. Your hands get a little messy pressing in the cookie dough but other than that it’s pretty straight-forward and simple.

I know that a lot of people are averse to vegetable shortening, so feel free to substitute butter for in it’s place. But I am uncertain if it will work out as I have not tested it myself. Please do let me know if you do. Also, don’t be worried about the vinegar… I was a bit put off about it but you will never know it’s there, scouts honor.

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Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip cookie layer:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 T cider vinegar (I used white without problem)
1 large egg
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake layer:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13″ pan with foil and spray lightly with baking spray. Set Aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla and vinegar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the egg until thoroughly mixed in, then add the baking soda and flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. Divide the dough into two equal portions and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl cream the cream cheese with the sugar until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla until fully combined.

Spread 1/2 of the cookie dough mixture evenly across the bottom of your prepared pan. (This is somewhat tricky to do. I find it easier to add dollops of cookie dough throughout the pan and then spread all the dollops together with your fingers.) Spread the cream cheese mixture on the top of the cookie dough. With the remaining cookie dough, flatten chunks of dough between your hands into discs, and then place on top of the cream cheese mixture, placing as close together as possible. Don’t worry if the dough discs don’t touch, they will bake into each other in the oven.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is brown and cooked through. Cool completely (if you can wait that long), top with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Enjoy!

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Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

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There are a few things in life that are absolutely necessary to own to keep life running smoothly:

That little black dress

A spare gift in the closet for that uh-oh, I forgot moment

A stock-pile of canned pumpkin puree to get you through until next turkey day

And a splash of bourbon in your cheesecake.

I’m telling ya, these things collectively have gotten me out of some hot water.

And I don’t like HOT water, my skin is sensitive.

I made this cheesecake for a few Thanksgivings and let me tell you, it was nothing short of ridiculously well received. The bourbon and pumpkin are great partners in crime while the sour cream layer, which I realize just made some of you squirm, finishes this creamy-dreamy cheesecake off on a sweet note.

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Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003 via Smitten Kitchen

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional, I usually up it to 2 TBSP)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350ยฐF.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

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MSC – Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

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I think everyone in my family is a self proclaimed cheesecake addict.

Well, everyone except my little brother. He’s 5. Don’t worry, he’ll catch on ๐Ÿ˜‰

But anything with the word ‘cheesecake,’ even if it’s just implied (like with these ‘cupcakes’) is sure to be devoured. Chocolate cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, bourbon pumpkin cheesecake, turtle cheesecake, lemon cheesecake,ย any cheesecake… you name it, I’ll try it and most likely LOVE it.

Did I also mention that my sister is also a dedicated lover of Oreos? I’m sure you can guess who BOTH batches of these went to. Oh yes, we made them…. twice. They are worthy, trust me. I am the cheesecake queen after all.

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They came together rather quickly and baked up nicely. I added extra oreos for the full ‘cookies and cream’ effect. The only thing I would change next time is to dial back on the sugar. These are SUPER sweet.
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The worst part, waiting for them to come to room temp. Arg. The horrah!!!

A HUGE thanks from both my sister and myself goes out to Nina fromย Nina’s Cupcakes for choosing this recipe. You made the cheesecake/cookie lovers in my family VERY happy ๐Ÿ™‚ Head on over to her blog for the recipe. Or you can find this in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book.

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Up next month: Snickerdoodle cupcakes. These are addictive and perfect little tea cupcakes!

Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

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A little while back I made gingersnap cookies that went a bit south for me. They were BEYOND crunchy. And I don’t know which side of the cookie camp you reside on, but I firmly reside in the chewy camp about 90% of the time. BUT they were tasty. I believed that they had another purpose, other than to satisfy my cookie cravings. Cus clearly that wasn’t happening.

And then came my thought of genius: gingersnap cookie crust!! But what to fill it with?? I had to find something that would compliment the gingersnap crust but not overpower it. Something bright and creamy but not too heavy. I was hoping to think outside of the ‘chocolate’ box and then it hit me ‘LEMONS!’ And so the seed of a lemon cheesecake was planted into my brain. To taunt and berate me for the next week.

I (in true Jeannette fashion) didn’t have said lemon glory on hand so I waited, in agony, until I found some delicious lemons worthy of my cheesecake masterpiece!

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The crust couldn’t be ANY simpler! I did make a few changes to the cheesecake: I skipped the water bath. The last time I gave my cheesecake a bath, water seeped into my TRIPLE foil lined springform pan to make a soggy mess of my beautiful cheesecake. I didn’t want the headache this time and I decided that I could live with a crack in my cheesecake. I also subbed the marscapone cheese for regular ole cream cheese. I also used the zest of one LARGE lemon, I didn’t measure it but it looked to be more than called for in the recipe. And I’m ok with that.

The cheesecake is creamy, dreamy and perfect (aside from the fact that it sunk in the middle, but I’m ok with that too. It was THAT good!) The crust is lightly sweet and gingery. Overall, a grand success!

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Gingersnap Crust:
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 ยพ cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
ยฝ stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the Lemon Cheesecake
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mascarpone cheese (I subbed equal amount of cream cheese)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (I used the zest of one large lemon)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Before You Start
Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

IF YOU ARE USING THE WATER BATH: Turn a 9-inchspringform pan upside down and cover the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. The foil should come up at least halfway on all sides, so that the water from the water bath will not leak through. Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment cut to fit exactly. Using nonstick vegetable cooking spray, spray the inside papered bottom and sides of the pan.

*IF YOU ARE NOT USING THE WATER BATH: Follow all the directions minus wrapping the springform pan in foil and filling a roasting pan with water to place the cheesecake inside of. Simply place your cheesecake in the center of your preheated oven and follow the rest of the instructions.

Directions:

For the crust:
Use a 9-inch spring form pan with 2 ยพ inch sides. Butter the pan and wrap the bottom with a layer of foil.

Stir the cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt together. Add the melted butter over top and stir together until moist and crumbly.

Pour the crumb mixture into the springform pan, and spread out the crumbs with your fingers along the bottom and half way up the sides.

Pop the crust into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack while you make the filling. (Leave the foil on the pan if you are using the water bath, you will want this on for the whole baking process)

To Make The Cheesecake
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar until smooth.

Scrape down the bowl and the paddle. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and spin gently to level the batter.

*Place the springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the center is just set. Remove the pan from the water bath and remove the aluminum foil on top. Using a sharp knife, loosen the edges of the cheesecake from the pan. Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bottom foil liner and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours to overnight.

Once the cheesecake is chilled, release the springform ring from around it. To remove the bottom, slide two offset spatulas under the cake and transfer it to a serving plate. Enjoy!

SMS – Black Bottom Brownies

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Cheesecake? Brownies?

To most people, that is pretty much THE match made in heaven. Me, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, the combination can be life altering but I just don’t think I’ve found THE recipe yet.

I don’t know if it was user error (read: my fault) or what but my cheesecake portion was ruuuuuunny (prior to baking) and it yielded quite a soft cheesecake layer, so soft that it didn’t hold up the chocolate chips scattered on top (they instead, sunk down on top of the brownie layer). The brownie portion had this odd spongey texture. Again, could be totally my fault, but something was just too off and I can’t quite put my finger on it. BUT that didn’t stop my co-workers from nom-ing on them all day long.

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I reduced the sugar in the brownies (2 cups, really?) to 1-1/2 cups since I used semi-sweet chocolate instead. I ALMOST reduced the amount of eggs in the cheesecake (6 eggs, REALLY?!) but decided not to mess with it. Baked for an hour (my oven is hotter than it reads) but the rest I followed to a ‘T’

I guess I’ll just keep searching for that recipe that blows my socks off. Feel free to leave me links or recipes for your tried and true cheesecake brownies.

Hopefully the other SMS bakers had better experiences with this than I did. Head on over to Cynthia’s blog, Bakingtherapist for the recipe.