My sister’s 23rd birthday is coming up, and she is having a cocktail party* to celebrate. The color scheme for the evening is black and white so I am helping out by baking desserts with those colors. The first thing that came to my mind was black and white cheesecake bars. That is slightly ironic given that Jessica doesn’t like cheesecake. However, she doesn’t eat gluten either, so most of the desserts are not even for her.
*way for twenty-somethings to get drunk and feel classy
I started by adapting this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars. I swapped gingersnap crust with Oreo and got rid of the pumpkin. But then I thought, how could make it even more special? Instead of using just a plain cheesecake layer for the “white”, I made it vanilla bean. Wow, this took the dessert to a whole new level. I’d never baked with vanilla bean before and I think I might be hooked! When you take a bite of the Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars, you get a sweet creamy layer and then that chocolate crunch from the crust. The rich chocolate cheesecake layer comes through next, but then when you think you are done, the vanilla bean kicks in. Layers of flavors are what make desserts stand out. Make these.
To make the crust, grind up about 17 Oreos in a food processor
Set cookie crumbs aside
Melt butter; add melted butter and sugar to cookie crumbs
Press mixture into a 9×13 pan lined with tin foil and cooking spray; spread evenly using fingers to push down crust mixture and set aside
To make your cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese in mixer until light, creamy and lumps are gone (about 5 minutes)
Add granulated sugar and combine on medium-high speed well until light and creamy
Beat in eggs, one at a time, on medium speed
Mix in flour on medium speed
Add your vanilla extract and salt and beat until your mixture is thick and creamy
Now, separate 1/2 of the cheesecake filling and set aside in a separate bowl
Split the vanilla bean open with a sharp knife
Scrape out the awesomeness of the vanilla bean with the back of the knife
Add vanilla bean to the batter and stir
Melt chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave; mixture will get very thick
Add chocolate to the filling still in the mixer and combine thoroughly
Pour chocolate batter over crust and bake for 15 minutes
Remove from oven and pour remaining cheesecake filling on top
Bake for 33-38 minutes or until edges begin to separate from foil and middle bounces slightly when touched
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight
Remove cheesecake from pan and cut into small bars
Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 36 small bars
- 1 1/4 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (about 17 cookies); I used reduced fat Oreos
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, separated
- 2 8-ounce packages light cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean (if leaving this out, replace with 1 tablespoon of additional vanilla extract)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
- Line a 13Ã—9 pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray, set aside
- To make the crust, grind up about 17 Oreos in a food processor until fine; set cookie crumbs aside
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour over cookie crumbs
- Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and mix until well combined
- Press mixture into a 9Ã—13 pan lined with tin foil and cooking spray; spread evenly using fingers to push down crust mixture and set aside
- To make your cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese in mixer until light, creamy and lumps are gone (about 5 minutes)
- Add granulated sugar and combine on medium-high speed well until light and creamy
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, on medium speed
- Mix in flour on medium speed
- Add vanilla extract and salt and beat until mixture is thick and creamy
- Now, separate 1/2 of the cheesecake filling and set aside in a separate bowl; add vanilla bean and stir
- Melt chocolate chips and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave; mixture will get very thick
- Add chocolate to the filling still in the mixer and combine thoroughly
- Pour chocolate batter over crust and bake for 15 minutes
- Remove from oven and pour remaining cheesecake filling on top
- Bake for 33-38 minutes or until edges begin to separate from foil and middle bounces slightly when touched
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight
- Remove cheesecake from pan and cut into bars
Adapted from this recipe which was adapted from The Curvy Carrot
I used light cream cheese because I wanted a final product that wasn’t overly rich, but regular cream cheese would work as well
When cutting the bars, I recommend cleaning your knife with a paper towel between slices to keep from contaminating the layers with one another
Do you have any expensive ingredients that you can’t live without?
I’m a sucker for high quality (ie: expensive) coffee, really great bread (Great Harvest is my favorite) and expensive butter to spread on that bread.
The bars look delicious! :)
Those look incredible!! I’ve never used a *real* vanilla bean before — I’ve heard that they work wonders. My husband LOVES vanilla-flavored things, so I might have to try these, and take the plunge on high quality vanilla beans soon!
I don’t even like cheesecake- but this looks fantastic!
LOVE it! Girl, you totally rocked these black and white bars, but I hope you have something else planned for your sister, who the day is for, after all. Come on now!
Oh, don’t worry. You know I do:-)
My mom used to make these-I haven’t had one in forever!!!
I love the little black specks that vanilla beans give to desserts – I actually use vanilla bean paste for the same effect but lower price!
Oh, I need to find that! Does it have the same quality of flavor?
I love the vanilla bean and cookie crumbs in this:) I don’t have anything too pricey in my cabinets, but I love my Madagascar vanilla.
First and foremost, I can’t imagine anything better than an Oreo crust. But vanilla bean cheesecake?! Yes please! Wishing I was attending this party so I could get my hands on some! :)
You should crash:-)
Oh those look sooo good. I absolutely love using vanilla beans in recipes. :)
can’t wait to try them next weekend!!
Wow, that looks super yummy. I love the double layer.
i can’t live without some kind of nut butter! these look amazing!
also, to answer your question – I used canned fava beans …I couldn’t find fresh ones anywhere!
I’ll have to look for canned now! I think fresh are really only around during the summer.
Oh yum, this looks amazingly good…anything with Oreos in it does it for me yum!
Vanilla beans really are a great way of elevating a dessert from good to OMG good. You are a such a sweet sister doing all of this for the cocktail party! If I were your sister, I would break my gluten-free diet for one of these. They look too good to resist.
It’s tempting but then again it’s tempting to break it with everything she makes…
I have never tried using a vanilla bean. I love the taste, but for some reason, the idea of scraping the bean seemed too hard. Thanks for the tutorial, and I’ll have to try it out now.
These are a dream! I agree that vanilla bean is divine. I need to stop “cheaping out” with the extract and go for the beans!
I love using vanilla beans! This looks so great! I’m a sucker for saffron!
At first, I was thinking that this recipe looked really great but then I saw the vanilla beans and started drooling.