The first time I ever made cheesecake squares was when I was a kid. I found a recipe in one of those checkout stand Christmas cookie cookbooks, made the squares, enjoyed them, and then I could never find that cookbook again. I think it was one of those TV spirit of Christmas things where I made the thing thinking that I had the recipe but found out it was inside me all the time and then I hear jingle bells and Ho Ho Ho off in the distance.
Anywho…My favorite cheesecake is from the Carnegie Deli in NYC for 3 reasons. It’s flippin’ delicious, my Aunt Pat introduced it to me when I went with her to New York when I was a kid, and because the crust is made of sugar cookies! When I was deciding what I wanted to make this week, I thought about the cheesecake bars which are super easy to make and how I could make them more Carnegie Deli cheesecakey. A tube of sugar cookie dough and 45 minutes later, here’s what I came up with.
- 8 oz Sugar Cookie Dough (1/2 of a Tube)
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
- ½ Cup Sugar
- ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
- 1 Tbs Butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Line an 8x8 glass baking dish with parchment paper and spray that with nonstick cooking spray. This helps you remove the bars when they’re completely cool. See the tips section for more details.
- Crumble the cookie dough and press it into the bottom of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, salt, egg and vanilla with a hand mixer until it’s smooth and has the consistency of cake batter. Pour the batter on top of the cookie dough and cook for 40 minutes until it’s just set in the middle.
- Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool for about 30 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second incriments, stirring in between each 30 seconds until all of the chocolate is just melted. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate.
- Spread the chocolate all over the top of the cheesecake bars and put the whole thing in the refrigerator to chill completely (about 2 – 3 hours).
- When the bars have chilled completely, remove from the pan and cut in 12 pieces.
To make depanning a snap, run a strip of parchment paper down one side of the pan, across the bottom, and up the other side leaving a bit of overhang and then spray everything with cooking spray. This will give you a convenient handle to remove the bars in one quick motion.
Freeze your leftover cookie dough for the next time you want some tasty sugar cookies or for when you want to make another batch of cheesecake bars.
While the Greeks considered it a cake, cheesecake is more closely related to a custard pie, soufflé or torte.