Happy Holidays and Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake Bars

 

 

cheesecakebarcollage

 

Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake Bars

CRUST:

1 package cookies  ( use gluten free chocolate chocolate chip cookies so I can share this with my gluten intolerant friends)

4-6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 FILLING:

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

1  cup sour cream, at room temperature (I use Greek yogurt)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides

Make the crust:

1. Place cookies in a food processor and process until finely ground. Of if you don’t feel like getting out the food processer, throw the cookies in a bag and pound them into fine crumbs.

2. Pour into a large bowl, add the melted butter, and stir with a flexible spatula until all crumbs are moistened. If you need more butter just melt more, all the crumbs need to be moist.

3. Place the cookie-crumb mixture in the lined pan and, using your fingers, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom. Bake 10 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack (leave the oven on) while you make the filling.

 Make the filling:

1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until well blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a flexible spatula and beat again until uniform.

2. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and salt. Scrape down the bowl and mix again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. After beating in the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat one more time, to make sure the mixture is fully combined.

3. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the baked cookie crust, smooth the top with the spatula, and bake for 40 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but still slightly wobbly in the center when you gently shake the pan. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. When cool, cover it with foil and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

4. When bars are fully cooked top with a room temperature chocolate ganache. I usually just use one package (12 oz) of semi sweet chocolate chips melted with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Heat cream in double boiler or microwave, add chocolate chips until smooth and melted. Ganache is that easy.

5. To cut, use the foil overhang to lift the cheesecake out of the pan and place on a large cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the cheesecake into bars, rinsing off the knife with hot water and wiping it dry between each cut.  (Yes you really have to do the knife thing if you want clean cuts). Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

These  can be frozen as well. I actually recommend freezing them first if you are taking them to a party. That way if they sit out for a bit they still are nice and chilled. Only takes them about 15-20 minutes to thaw.

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