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  • Mary Kay

Easy Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Bars


Ready for a delicious chocolate cheesecake? Here’s a way to MAKE several tastes of this chocolate cheesecake in bar form. It’s easier than a regular cheesecake and uses a regular cake pan – no springform pan needed. No water bath needed for the baking process. And the bar sized bites satisfy your craving for the creamy chocolatey taste.


I used to make cheesecakes only in springform pans with oven water baths. No need for that with my recipe. This recipe is much easier and even tastier. The 8”x8” square cake pan makes 25 snack sized mouthwatering tastes, or slice them a little larger for 9 deliciously plated full-sized desserts.

(Double this recipe if you want to make a 9”x13” pan of cheesecake bars.)


Serves 9 -25.


Prepare your oven:

Set the thermostat on your oven at 350F degrees.

Prep your pan:

- Line an 8”x8” square cake pan with parchment paper, lightly smearing a little butter on the bottom and sides of the pan and on top of the parchment paper. The parchment paper should flop over all four sides of the pan by about 2” so you can pull the entire cheesecake out after it’s completely cooled.


Gather your Crust Ingredients:

20 Oreo Cookies, the dark chocolate cake flavor, crushed

3-4 T Butter, melted


Gather your Cheesecake filling Ingredients:

6 oz Chocolate bar or chips, bittersweet or dark chocolate, melted

12 oz Cream cheese

½ C Sugar

2 T Brown sugar

1 ½ T Cocoa powder, unsweetened

2 Eggs

1 Egg yolk

½ C Heavy cream, whipping cream

1 t Vanilla extract

1 t Almond extract

Gather your Ganache Ingredients:

8 oz Chocolate, semi-sweet, finely chopped

½ C + 1 T Heavy Cream, whipping cream


Mix and bake your crust:

- Crush the Oreo cookies (do not scrape off the inside frosting) into a fine crumb. I usually place the cookies inside a plastic bag and crush them with a wood or metal mallet. I place the bag on a towel on a wooden cutting board (not on my glass top stove) before pounding the cookies. It’s a chance to take out your frustrations! Some people like to create the crumbs by using a food blender or food processor.

- Melt the butter and pour 3 tablespoons into the cookie crumbs and mix well. You may not need the entire 4 tablespoons since the frosting inside the cookies provide quite a bit of moisture.

- Press the cookie crumb and butter mixture into the parchment paper lined pan. I wrap a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic bag around my hand and press the crumbs with my knuckles.

- Bake the crust @ 350F degrees for 10 minutes.

- Take out of the oven and set aside. Do not chill.


Mix and bake your Cheesecake:

- Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 30 second intervals stirring after each time, until melted and smooth. It could take about 60-90 seconds total. Or, melt in double boiler. Set aside to cool a little. Do not refrigerate.

- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy.

- Add the sugars and beat until smooth.

- Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture and beat in.

- Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

- Fold in the melted chocolate, drizzling it in slowly.

- Add and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. I always use extracts.

- Pour the filling into the crust.

- Bake at 325F degrees for 35 minutes. The center will be a little jiggly.

- Remove from the oven and let cool for an hour at room temperature.

- Refrigerate the cheesecake for 4 hours or overnight before covering with the chocolate ganache.

- Pull the cheesecake out of the pan by lifting with the parchment paper sides. Place the cheesecake on a large cutting board or a larger low-rimmed pan. Fold down the parchment paper and trim it off. This makes it easier to pour the ganache on top and later slice it.


Make the delicious Chocolate Ganache:

- After your cheesecake has cooled, start getting your chocolate ganache ready by placing the chocolate bits in a medium bowl and setting aside.

- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then in 15 second intervals until it just begins to simmer. If it’s not hot, heat it a little more.

- Pour the hot heavy cream over the chocolate bits and let set for 1-2 minutes.

- Stir with a whisk until it’s smooth and glossy.

- Let the ganache cool a few minutes and pour ¼-½ of it over the cheesecake, spreading quickly. Set aside to cool.

- Let the rest of the ganache cool about 10 more minutes for piping decorations on top of the cheesecake. However, it will be a little thin to pipe, so add ¼ cup to ½ cup of sifted powdered sugar, stirring to incorporate. If you think it needs to have a little more powdered sugar, add it.

- Set up your piping bag with a medium to large star tip.

- Scoop the thickened chocolate ganache into the bag.

- Pipe decorations onto your cheesecake. I arrange the piped stars according to where the bars will be cut so that a piped star is centered onto each piece. If you’re unsure how far apart to pipe the stars, lightly mark the cutting lines with a small sharp knife.

- Chill the cheesecake until the ganache sets. I usually set my entire cheesecake on cutting board into the refrigerator to chill.

- Cut it into slices according to bite sized bits (5 across by 5) or larger pieces (3 across x 3), or diagonals or to your desired sizes.

- Serve with fresh fruit or whipped cream or even ice cream.


Storage:

- This is easy to store in the refrigerator for 5-6 days, loosely covered with plastic wrap or in a loosely covered container.

- I also freeze this cheesecake up to one month. Store in a plastic tightly covered container. Or, wrap each slice of cheesecake in plastic wrap and in a sealable plastic bag.


Flavor options:

Chocolate cheesecake is always enhanced by your favorite flavors. This one contains almond extract.

- I also like to add fresh ground flavored coffee beans. Grind it three times to get it very fine. Some of my favorite coffee bean flavors for this cheesecake are vanilla crème brulee, hazelnut, strawberry almond, pecan. Just add a couple of teaspoons of the flavored ground coffee beans to the crust and another couple teaspoons in the cheesecake filling. I don’t add it to the chocolate ganache since that should be super silky smooth.


Whoever you share this Chocolate Almond Cheesecake with or whether you change up the flavors, be sure to “Bake your own Memories!”



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