Cheesecake cookie dough bars are exactly as wonderful as they sound. While the bars are in fact baked, the cookie dough layer stays perfectly fudgy while the cheesecake layer is velvety smooth.
These little gems were a baking happy accident. I had no intentions whatsever of making what these turned out to be. In fact, I had every intention in the world of baking thick and fudgy brownies with a cheesecake layer in the middle with another layer of brownie swirl on top.
I had plans. I was going to get up early on Saturday morning and have those babies baked and photographed before Mr. BB woke up. But as I was getting all of my ingredients out I realized I had no cocoa powder. Fail!
As an avid baker you start taking for granted having all of the staples on hand. And when you realize that you are out of flour, or sugar, or eggs, or cocoa powder right as you are about to make a recipe it can lead to total meltdown. Ok, maybe not an actual meltdown, but extreme frustration ensued.
But I decided to go ahead and wing it and just make something work. I had all of the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies and Mr. BB was already expecting something that involved his favorite food group, cheesecake, so I decided to throw the two together.
I made a dense cookie dough for the bottom layer, almost a blondie consistency, and I made the cheesecake filling for the top layer. I baked until the cheesecake was set then pulled it and let it cool completely before letting it chill in the fridge.
This resulted in a cheesecake layer on top and an underbaked almost cookie dough layer on bottom. Mr. BB was not unhappy. I mean, cheesecake was involved, so how could he be?
I need to remember this more often. To let things just happen. Too often I am so set in what the plans were and what things were supposed to be. I am definitely a planner. Probably an over planner.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can throw me into a tizzy when I had set plans and then find that there is no cocoa powder, or no eggs, or that the cord to the photobooth is missing when setting up my wedding reception. But that is a story for another time…
I’m working on that whole adapatability, roll with the punches, thing. I’m getting there. And hopefully the better I get at it, the more happy baking accidents will occur. Those are the best kind of accidents. The accidents that involve chocolate and cheesecake and gooey cookie dough.
Cheesecake Cookie Dough Bars
While these cheesecake cookie dough bars are in fact baked, the cookie dough layer stays just enough under baked to maintain a cookie dough consistency. The cookie dough layer is incredibly fudgy and not at all cakey, while the cheesecake layer stays velvety smooth and creamy.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups chocolate chips, (I used bittersweet)
- 16 oz cream cheese (2- 8oz packages), room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9X13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat with pan spray and set aside.
For the Cookie Dough
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and melt together over medium heat, stirring often. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to warm, just enough so that when you add the eggs they do not cook. (you could begin making the cheesecake layer at this point while the mixture is cooling.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Add the flour and salt all at once and stir until combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until distributed evenly.
- Spread the cookie dough layer evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Cheesecake
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) whip cream cheese until smooth and scrape down bowl as needed.
- Add the sugar and flour and mix until incorporated. Then add vanilla and heavy cream. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
- Pour the cheesecake layer on top of the cookie dough layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula or rubber spatula.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the center of the cheesecake is firm and no longer jiggly.
- Let the bars cool to room temperature before slicing. I suggest letting them cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator overnight before slicing, but I know how difficult it is to wait. The bars will not be set until cooled completely.