This easy recipe for Cheesecake Bars makes a simple dessert bar that is super creamy, so delicious, and is way easier than making a whole cheesecake!
One hugely important lesson I’ve learned in baking is that patience really is a virtue. My goodness, how many times have I wanted to grab a spoon dig into whatever just came out of the oven, but not done it, because I knew I had to let it cool, and then take pictures, before I could have a bite? So, so many. The worst though, is letting things develop. You know, when things don’t taste nearly as good straight out of the oven, or how you have to let a mousse or pudding set before you can go to town? It’s totally the worst. I know, I know. I’m telling you how much it sucks, but in all honesty – once you get through the hunger pains and total exercise of willpower, it’s sooo worth it.
These cheesecake bars are a perfect example. I took them out of the oven, let them cool until the pan was touchable, stuck them in the fridge for an hour, sliced them up, and tried a sliver. I thought they were good, but not great, so I didn’t photograph them immediately, intending to give the recipe another shot. Back into the fridge they went.
A few hours later, my dad grabbed one from the fridge, came over, and declared it one of Bakerita’s Top 10 EVER. For someone who doesn’t love anything not dripping in chocolate and/or peanut butter, that’s a pretty big deal. Clearly, I needed to try them again.
Oh my goodness, did these bars get better. After 4 more hours in the fridge, the crust got crunchier and the filling got so much smoother and creamier. The flavors somehow all melded together to make the bar 10x better than it had been an hour out of the oven. It was remarkable. So, if you’re going to make this recipe – which I highly recommend you do – prepare about 8 hours before you’re going to want your cheesecake. The wait is oh so worth it.
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 8" x 8" square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- Stir together the crumbs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and melted butter.
- Press into the bottom of an 8" x 8" square pan.
- Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, until set; the color won't change much.
- Remove the crust from the oven and cool for a few minutes while you lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
For the filling:
- Beat together the white sugar, and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix well. Spread filling mixture over baked crust.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 300°F or until the middle is no longer jiggly; don't over bake. Let cool on wire rack until mostly cool.
- Place melted chocolate into a small plastic Ziploc bag. Snip the corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting and serving.