Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Despite the fact that I easily have hundreds of recipes bookmarked for future reference, sometimes I come across something that instantly catches my eye and makes me feel the strongest urge to run to the kitchen and start measuring and mixing ingredients together. I wouldn’t say that this happens regularly mainly because I like to think that I am able to exercise some sort of restraint, but reading about these cheesecake stuffed chocolate chip cookie bars honestly made me dizzy with excitement. I mean seriously? Whoever thought up this combo is a genius in my eyes. These bars manage to combine chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake, two of my very favourite things in the world, into one dessert. These bars are great chilled, at room temperature, and even after a quick zap in the microwave for melty chocolatey goodness. You really do get the best of both worlds with these bars ūüôā

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Yields: a 9×13″ pan, about 20 bars

Ingredients:
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

For the Cheesecake Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

For the cookie layer whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, salt and baking soda, folding into the dough with a rubber spatula; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips until combined. Press half of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan. It will be a thin layer, so use lightly moistened hands to press the dough into a thin even layer, filling in any holes with a bit of cookie dough from the bowl.

For the cheesecake filling, mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Spread the cheesecake filling over the layer of cookie dough in the pan.

Using the remaining cookie dough, flatten tablespoon sized amounts of cookie dough in your hands into flat disc shapes, about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Place these discs over the top of the cheesecake layer, pressing very lightly to adhere them to the cheesecake layer. It’s ok if there are small spaces; the entire top doesn’t need to be completely covered just make sure it is mostly covered with cookie dough.

Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes until very lightly browned on the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, 1-2 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from¬†Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars

One of the things I always look forward to as the weather gets cooler are the seemingly endless variations of pumpkin flavoured baked goods. I’m a huge fan of pumpkin pie, it’s quite possibly my favourite type of pie, so these creamy pumpkin pie bars are like perfection to me! These bars incorporate the classic pumpkin pie flavour that I’ve always adored into an almost cheesecake-like filling, sandwiched between a crumbly crust and topping. I think the filling to crust ratio is just perfect, ¬†and the pumpkin flavour really shines through in this dessert. A perfect way to satisfy that pumpkin pie craving without the hassle of baking a whole pie!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Yield: makes 9 bars in a square 8×8-inch pan

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon all-spice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
9 roasted pecan halves for topping

Directions:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch square pan with butter or shortening.  Line with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and oats.  Add cold butter and quickly but thoroughly break the butter up into the dry ingredients.  When broken down, some butter pieces will be the size of small peas, others will be the size of oat flakes.  Add the chopped pecans and toss to thoroughly combine.

Remove about 1 1/2 (to 2 cup) of the mixture from the bowl and place in a small bowl in the refrigerator.  This will be our crumble topping.

Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan.  Using your fingers, evenly press the crust into the bottom of the pans.  Try to make sure that the crust has an even thickness across the pan.  Place the pressed crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat cream cheese on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth and pliable.  This will help the cream cheese be less chunky when combined with the pumpkin.

Add pumpkin and sugar  to the softened cream cheese and beat on medium speed.  Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, ensuring that the pumpkin and cream cheese are thoroughly combined.  If the cream cheese looks chunky, switch to the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until most of the cream cheese lumps are incorporated.

On medium speed add the egg and egg white.  Beat to combine (about 1 minute).  Add the spices, salt, and vanilla extract.  Beat to combine.

Remove the pressed crust and loose crumb from the refrigerator.  Pour the creamy pumpkin filling over the pressed crust.  Sprinkle generously with crumb topping and top with pecan halves.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.  I like to slice and serve these bars chilled.

To store, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

—SOURCE—
Joy the Baker

 

Oreo Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

In two days I will be moving back home for summer! I started packing earlier this week and I realized that I have a lot of stuff. Mainly clothing and baking supplies/equipment. But this means that I haven’t been able to bake anything all week since I’ve packed away most of my stuff to take back home (and since I’m trying to finish up my food in the fridge/freezer), and I think I’m going through a serious withdrawal.

I made these oreo cream cheese swirl brownies two weeks ago for a group project meeting and they were heavenly. I love anything cream cheese, and I think the oreo cream cheese combination is just perfect, but oreo cream cheese and brownies? Wow. I do hope you try these sometime ūüôā

Oreo Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Ingredients:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
¬ĺ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¬Ĺ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
¬Ĺ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¬ľ cup milk
1¬Ĺ cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¬Ĺ¬†cup confectioners‚Äô sugar
1¬Ĺ¬†tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350ňö F. ¬†Line an 8√ó8‚Ä≥ baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and sugar.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; whisk together to combine.  Add the eggs to the pan with the butter-sugar mixture and whisk until well blended.  Whisk in the milk.  Transfer the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the Oreo cookie pieces.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

To make the cream cheese mixture, combine the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well-blended and smooth.   Drop the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in dollops.  Use the blade of a knife to gently swirl the cream cheese mixture together with the brownie batter, creating a marble effect.

Bake for about 22-24 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving.  (I prefer to refrigerate once the brownies have cooled to room temperature to make for easier slicing.)

Source: Annie’s Eats, adapted from Sugar Plum

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars (and I won!!!!!)

I’m on cloud nine. Almost.

I’m definitely experiencing a very exciting moment, if anything!

Last week, Geni from Sweet and Crumby (one of the blogs that I check almost daily) announced that she would be hosting a McCormick giveaway! ¬†Now I’m not usually the type of person to enter a lot of giveaways because I have never won anything significant in my life before, but I figured what the heck, I may as well try for this one.

And this morning, as I was eating my morning toast getting ready for another long day of studying for my final exams, I checked my email and saw an email from Geni herself (!!!) telling me I had won!!!

I was so excited. I still am very excited. And I’m really sorry if I sound like I am bragging or shoving this in anyways face, because I’m really not!! The only thing I can ever remember winning is a puzzle from a birthday party in grade 5. And I don’t even like puzzles.

Anyways, now that I am finished my happy dance (for now anyways, there will probably be several throughout the day), I’m going to share a recipe with you from Sweet and Crumby ūüôā

Geni posted this recipe for caramel apple crumb bars about two weeks ago, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it out. These bars were not hard to make, and were absolutely delicious. They tasted amazing straight out of the oven, and my housemates found that microwaving the remaining bars in the following days made them taste almost as if they had come out of the oven. Yum!

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Ingredients:
For the Crumb Mixture:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose white flour
1 2/3 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant oats)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith or other tart apples (4 medium or 2 large)

For the caramel sauce:
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup all purpose white flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
For the crumb mixture:  Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray coat a 9×13 pan, preferably glass, on the bottom and sides.  Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and butter with a rubber spatula or best yet, with your hands.  The mixture should end up as course crumbles.

Press 1/2 of the crumbly mixture firmly in the bottom of your prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes and then set on a wire rack.

While the crumb mixture is baking, make your caramel sauce: In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  DO NOT LEAVE THE POT! Adjust the heat so the mixture boils mildly briskly.  It should boil about 6-8 minutes, until it reaches 244 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.  Immediately, remove the pot from the heat when it reaches the desired temperature.  Stir in the flour and mix until evenly combined.  Stir in the vanilla.

Peel and chop your apples into a 1/2 inch or so dice.  Sprinkle your apples evenly over the pan and then pour the caramel sauce over the apples, trying to disperse the caramel in equal amounts.  Top the apples with the last half of the crumb mixture.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges turn a little darker than the center.  Transfer to a wire rack and carefully run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the caramel from around the sides.  Let stand until completely cooled and then cut into bars.

Source: Sweet and Crumby, from Nancy Baggett’s All-American Cookbook

Smore’s Cheesecake Bars

Something about my upcoming exams for university has been making me crave chocolate and cream cheese. I only have 2 more weeks until I finish exams and get to go home (Toronto) for the summer, and I am super excited!!

In the midst of my studying, I bring to you these delightful s’mores cheesecake bars. I didn’t bother toasting the tops and drizzling melted chocolate on top for a prettier effect, but trust me these were still so¬†unbelievably¬†yummy. The only ingredient I had difficulty with was the marshmallow creme. I’m not sure if Canadian grocery stores sell marshmallow creme, but either way I couldn’t find it at any of my local grocery stores. I did find a recipe online for marshmallow creme that called for marshmallows and corn syrup. I tried making this version, and let’s just say it was an epic fail (and a waste of time). ¬†All I ended with after that disaster was a rock hard lump of what was supposed to be marshmallow creme, a really sticky frying pan, and not very much patience left over.

In the end I fished out the rock hard lump of marshmallow from the rest of the chocolate cheesecake batter, and it tasted great in the end anyways, so I’m not sure if it is completely necessary to use marshmallow creme.

S’mores Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¬ľ cup sour cream
¬Ĺ cup marshmallow cream
2 tsp. cocoa powder
¬ĺ¬†tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the topping:
1¬Ĺ cups mini marshmallows
Milk chocolate chips, melted (optional)

Directions:
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350ňö F. ¬†Line an 8√ó8‚Ä≥ baking pan with foil; spray lightly with cooking spray. ¬†Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl. ¬†Stir together with a fork until well combined. ¬†Press the mixture in an even layer into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. ¬†Bake 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack while you prepare the filling. ¬†Reduce the oven temperature to 325ňö F.

To make the filling, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and marshmallow cream.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and eggs until incorporated.  Stir in the melted chocolate until well blended.  Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake about 30 minutes, or until the center is just set (does not jiggle when shaken gently.)  Remove from the oven.

Evenly top the cheesecake layer with the mini marshmallows.  Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, just long enough so the marshmallows begin to melt into each other.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack.  Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the tops of the marshmallows.  (Alternatively, this can be done underneath the broiler with a very watchful eye.) Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, drizzle with melted milk chocolate if desired.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill 2-3 hours before slicing and serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Peach Shortbread

I’ve been feeling super tired all week, even though I’ve been getting more sleep this week than last week. Maybe too much sleep makes you even more tired? Not too sure…

I’ve also been feeling a whirlwind of emotions lately, everything from super excited to shaking, nervous to absolutely miserable, to ecstatic in the sense that I want to climb a mountain and fly.

I think it might have something to do with this baking withdrawal I’ve been going through. I normally spend time to bake or cook something new, but the past two weeks I’ve been so busy with school and life that I haven’t had much time for the kitchen. I was looking at all of my food pictures saved on my computer, and I stumbled upon this one, for peach shortbread. I made this a few months ago before I started my blog, but I figure I may as well share this recipe now, even though peaches are really in season. Maybe another reason to look forward to summer? ūüôā

Peach Shortbread

Yields: 24 2 x 2 1/2-ish squares. You can halve this and bake it in a 8 x 8 pan instead.

Ingredients:

1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (12 5/8 ounces or 359 grams) cups all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 cups and remove 2 tablespoons flour)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

Directions:

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375¬įF (190¬įC). Butter a 9√ó13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

 

I remember for my past few birthdays, whenever my mom asked me what kind of cake I wanted, I immediately requested for an oreo cheesecake. ¬†There’s something about the combination of oreo crumbs and cream cheese that is just incredibly appealing.

Once when I was feeling a little homesick, I had the biggest craving for my mom’s homemade oreo cheesecake. I didn’t have to look far on my favourite food blog to find this recipe. It tasted every bit as delicious as my mom’s homemade version, and it helped to cure my homesickness ūüôā

 

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:
23 Oreo cookies
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. sour cream, at room temperature
¬Ĺ tsp. vanilla extract
¬ľ tsp. salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325ňö F. ¬†Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil. ¬†To make the crust, place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor. ¬†Process, pulsing, until the cookies are finely ground. ¬†Add in the melted butter and pulse until the cookie crumbs are moistened. ¬†Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. ¬†Press the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. ¬†Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside and prepare the filling while maintaining the oven temperature.

To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the sugar until well combined.  Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium-high speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula.

Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature.  Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

To cut the bars, pull the cake from the pan by lifting the foil up out of the pan.  Place on a cutting board, peel away the foil, and slice into bars.  Clean the knife blade between each slice to keep the edges neat.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

 

Source: Annie’s Eats

S’mores Bars

It is absolutely freezing outside. This morning as my housemate and I stepped out of our warm house to go to our first lecture of the day, we were greeted with the coldest air I’ve felt in what feels like awhile.

It was the kind of cold where if you inhale to deeply with your nose, you get what feels like little icicles forming inside your nostrils.

I kind of like that feeling.

My housemate hates it and thinks it’s weird that I enjoy it a little too much..

What she does love however, are these little bars of perfection.

These s’mores bars literally took me about 15 minutes to make. Once the graham cracker crust has been assembled, and the marshmallow and graham topping pieces are ready, you have to work really quickly before the chocolate mixture starts to harden. I recommend using a spatula when working with the chocolate, as it really helps to scrape off all of the chocolate from the pan while you are mixing (to prevent burning) and while you are pouring the chocolate mix into the pan.

Enjoy!

S’mores Bars
Yield: 12-16 bars
Ingredients:


3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¬ĺ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1¬Ĺ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 whole graham crackers

Directions:


Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.  Lightly butter the foil.  Place the butter in a heatproof bowl and microwave until melted.  Mix in the graham cracker crumbs and stir with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  (I like to use the bottom of a ramekin to do this.)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the condensed milk and chocolate chips.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and salt.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the graham cracker base.  Working quickly, spread the chocolate into an even layer and smooth with a spatula.  Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top of the chocolate.  Gently press down so that the marshmallows become partly embedded in the chocolate.  Break the whole graham crackers into small pieces and stick into the chocolate mixture between the marshmallows.

Cover and refrigerate the bars until firm, about 4 hours.  Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Use a large sharp knife to cut into squares or rectangles.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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