I wanted a new dessert, maybe in the form of a bar, for a recent family gathering. I wanted to make a quick and simple pan of bars I could cut up, put in a container, and take to a picnic. I didn’t find that. Instead I ended up making bars that were about as labor intensive as they could be!
For heaven’s sakes, the bars had three layers of complicated goodness, and I was more than annoyed with myself for choosing the recipe. Until I tasted it. Oh. My. It was worth the work. I may never make them again, but it was worth the mess of pans and bowls and dishes I ended up washing afterwards. And my P.S. said it was definitely going to be a cause of more girth around his middle. I just shrugged and tried to look innocent.
When I found the bars on Brandy’s Baking site, I gasped. It was a cheesecake bar, complete with a graham crust, under a chocolate chip cookie. It was two desserts in one! Double deliciousness! I knew the family would go crazy over these.
As I’ve mentioned before, I frown when a recipe makes a mere 8”x8” pan of bars. With all that work, it should make a heap more to feast on, I think. But this bar is so rich I cut them pretty small, so there were 25 bars. You won’t want more than one, maybe two, at a time! You’ve been warned.
I started by heating my oven, then preparing the 8”x8” pan by lining it with foil, then spraying it with oil. I melted the butter and mixed the graham crust in a bowl, then patted it into the pan. I put it into the oven for 6 minutes as directed.
While the crust baked I mixed the cheesecake filling. The recipe has you mix the cookie dough next, but for some odd reason I did the cheesecake first. I had pulled the cream cheese out of the fridge, as well as the egg, and let them set for a couple of hours to come to room temperature. They were easy to mix together with the sugar and vanilla; they were smooth in no time at all.
The graham crust was done baking so I pulled it out of the oven and let it sit while I finished making the rest of the layers. I mixed the first few ingredients for the cookie dough, then stirred in the chocolate chips. The batter was very dry and crumbly, as Brandy had warned. I was definitely wondering how in the world this was going to work!
When the graham crust had cooled, I poured the cheesecake layer over it and spread it out smoothly with a small icing spatula. I use those so often I have two of them. They are on the top of my list for a kitchen item I couldn’t do without!
Next I followed Brandy’s directions and took small handfuls of cookie dough, pressed it together into a lump, then flattened it and put it over the cheesecake layer. It was messy and awkward and I wasn’t feeling confident that I was doing it properly, but it worked out just great. So don’t despair if you feel like it’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done with cookie dough. It IS the weirdest thing I’ve ever done with cookie dough, but it works.
That done, the bars were ready to bake. I slid the pan back into the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes the bars were firm to the touch, so I pulled the pan out of the oven and put it on a rack to cool. After it was cool to the touch on the bottom, I covered it with foil and put it into the fridge overnight to set up.
The next day I lifted the whole foil insert out of the pan and set it on a cutting board. I suspected they were going to be uber rich and we’d want smaller pieces, so I cut it into 5 strips one way, then in fifths the other way too. Wow, they were SO good, I was pleased. Everyone seemed to like them and I even had a few left over that my P.S. is hoarding for himself. They’re a bit too sweet, so I can easily limit myself to one a day. You will just have to try them yourself!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup chocolate chips
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs and press into the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. With a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Mixture will be very dry and crumbly. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
With a stand mixer or hand-held mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix just until incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust and spread smooth. Use your hands to form “clumps” of the cookie dough, then flatten them out and place all over the top of the cheesecake layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm. Remove from oven and onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Chill in refrigerator a couple of hours or overnight before lifting the bars out by the overhang and cuttin into squares for serving.