March 25, 2008
I suppose I should have warned you. The fact that these cheesecake squares are coming a mere 24 hours after yesterday’s oreos is only the beginning. It’s going to be a very decadent week here at The Kitchen Sink. There will be one dessert post after another marching across the week. But I swear, I’ve had good reason. Actually, good reasons. Last week, between dinner guests, a couple birthday celebrations and a houseful of guests at my parents’ over the Easter weekend, I had plenty of reasons to lavish people with desserts.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
But after all this I-swear-I-had-a-good-reason-ing, I have to go and blow my cover with these cheesecake bars (yes, bars). That’s right, there was no birthday, no holiday, no excuse to make these bars last Tuesday night. To make matters worse, we feasted on these bars while we were watching The Biggest Loser during last week’s Family Dinner. Shameful, we know.
But if you think I regret it, you’re wrong. Because these cheesecake bars just might be the perfect bite: first, your teeth break through the crisp shell of dark chocolate swirled across the top of the bars. Then, the bite picks up speed as you descend into the much-more-yielding, rich layer of tart creaminess. The bite then slows down again as you meet the almost-crumbly graham cracker carpet supporting the whole thing. Beyond the texture, the flavors of the three layers—the bitterness of the chocolate, the tang of the cream cheese filling and the buttery crust, which is laced with spicy cinnamon—dance together perfectly. And while the one-inch squares are indeed the perfect bite, you’re going to want more than one bite. Even if you’re watching a show about people doing 180s with their health and losing jaw-dropping amounts of weight. Trust me.
Marbled Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
3 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
2 ounces bittersweet (60%) chocolate
Preheat oven to 325°.
Coat a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Place the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom of pan. Bake at 325° for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add sugar and flour; beat well. Add vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat until well blended. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan.
Place chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 1 1/2 minutes or until soft, stirring after 45 seconds (chocolate should not completely melt). Stir until smooth. Drop melted chocolate onto cheese mixture to form 9 mounds. Swirl chocolate into batter using the tip of a knife or a skewer. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.