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Posts Tagged ‘vanilla bean’

My sister’s 23rd birthday is coming up, and she is having a cocktail party* to celebrate.  The color scheme for the evening is black and white so I am helping out by baking desserts with those colors.  The first thing that came to my mind was black and white cheesecake bars.  That is slightly ironic given that Jessica doesn’t like cheesecake.  However, she doesn’t eat gluten either, so most of the desserts are not even for her.

*way for twenty-somethings to get drunk and feel classy

cheesecake 6

I started by adapting this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars.  I swapped gingersnap crust with Oreo and got rid of the pumpkin.  But then I thought, how could make it even more special?  Instead of using just a plain cheesecake layer for the “white”, I made it vanilla bean.  Wow, this took the dessert to a whole new level.  I’d never baked with vanilla bean before and I think I might be hooked!  When you take a bite of the Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars, you get a sweet creamy layer and then that chocolate crunch from the crust.  The rich chocolate cheesecake layer comes through next, but then when you think you are done, the vanilla bean kicks in.  Layers of flavors are what make desserts stand out.  Make these.

vanilla bean 1

To make the crust, grind up about 17 Oreos in a food processororeos in food processor

Set cookie crumbs aside

oreo crumbs

Melt butter; add melted butter and sugar to cookie crumbsmixing crust

Press mixture into a 9×13 pan lined with tin foil and cooking spray; spread evenly using fingers to push down crust mixture and set aside

crust in pan

To make your cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese in mixer until light, creamy and lumps are gone (about 5 minutes)

cream cheese cream cheese creamed

Add granulated sugar and combine on medium-high speed well until light and creamy

sugar and cream chs creamed

Beat in eggs, one at a time, on medium speed

add egg

Mix in flour on medium speed

add flour

Add your vanilla extract and salt and beat until your mixture is thick and creamy add vanilla extract

Now, separate 1/2 of the cheesecake filling and set aside in a separate bowl

Split the vanilla bean open with a sharp knife

vanilla bean 2

Scrape out the awesomeness of the vanilla bean with the back of the knife

vanilla bean 3

Add vanilla bean to the batter and stir

vanilla bean batter

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave; mixture will get very thick chocolate and sugarmelted butter and sugar

Add chocolate to the filling still in the mixer and combine thoroughly

chocolate added

Pour chocolate batter over crust and bake for 15 minutes

chocolate layer

 chocolate layer baked

Remove from oven and pour remaining cheesecake filling on top vanilla bean batter

Bake for 33-38 minutes or until edges begin to separate from foil and middle bounces slightly when touched vanilla layer baked

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight

Remove cheesecake from pan and cut into small bars

cheesecake 8

Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from this recipe which was adapted from The Curvy Carrot

Makes 36 small bars

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 1/4 cups of Oreo cookie crumbs (about 17 cookies); I used reduced fat Oreos

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Filling:

2 8-ounce packages light cream cheese softened at room temperature

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean (if leaving this out, replace with 1 tablespoon of additional vanilla extract)

Pinch of salt

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Line a 13×9 pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray, set aside

To make the crust, grind up about 17 Oreos in a food processor until fine; set cookie crumbs aside

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour over cookie crumbs

Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and mix until well combined

Press mixture into a 9×13 pan lined with tin foil and cooking spray; spread evenly using fingers to push down crust mixture and set aside

To make your cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese in mixer until light, creamy and lumps are gone (about 5 minutes)

Add granulated sugar and combine on medium-high speed well until light and creamy

Beat in eggs, one at a time, on medium speed

Mix in flour on medium speed

Add vanilla extract and salt and beat until mixture is thick and creamy

Now, separate 1/2 of the cheesecake filling and set aside in a separate bowl; add vanilla bean and stir

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave; mixture will get very thick

Add chocolate to the filling still in the mixer and combine thoroughly

Pour chocolate batter over crust and bake for 15 minutes

Remove from oven and pour remaining cheesecake filling on top

Bake for 33-38 minutes or until edges begin to separate from foil and middle bounces slightly when touched

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight

Remove cheesecake from pan and cut into small bars

 Notes:

I used light cream cheese because I wanted a final product that wasn’t overly rich, but regular cream cheese would work as well

When cutting the bars, I recommend cleaning your knife with a paper towel between slices to keep from contaminating the layers with one another

cheesecake 11

Do you have any expensive ingredients that you can’t live without?

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