Raspberry cheesecake bars

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While I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (I’ll take a bag of chips over a pint of ice cream just about any day), there are a few desserts that I absolutely love. Chocolate is one of them. Cheesecake is another. And on the rare occasion that I get a craving for something sweet … that craving just won’t quit ’til I stuff some sugary goodness right in my gob.

A few weeks ago I got hit by one of these semi-annual cravings, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was going to a girls’ night held in conjunction with our collective significant others’ bachelor party outing, and wanted to bring something yummy to the table. I riffed on these Nutella cheesecake bars (once again, Pinterest to the rescue), opting for a raspberry cheesecake topping as opposed to Nutella (I know, I know – who ever thought I would actually OMIT Nutella from a recipe? I haven’t been bodysnatched. Honest.), and they certainly did the trick of satiating my sweet tooth, which has lasted ’til today. I have this vision of some sort of gooey, pumpkin chocolate chip cookie goodness that needs to happen in the immediate future, and it won’t get out of my brain. Send help and/or cookies.

flour grahams eggs cracked

Raspberry-cheesecake bars (inspired by Tide and Thyme)
1 1/2 cups food processor’d (yes, I just made that a word) chocolate graham crackers
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup raspberries

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8 baking dish and line with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse your graham crackers until they become crumbs.  Add in melted butter and pulse until the mixture is soft and slightly moist dewy (I hate that damn word).  Press the chocolate mixture evenly into the bottom of your baking dish, then bake until set, about 12-15 minutes. Set it aside to cool.

As your crust is baking, add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, 1/4 cup heavy cream and vanilla to a stand mixer (note: if you don’t have one, I’m sure you could either use a hand mixer or re-use your [cleaned out] food processor). Beat until smooth.  Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside.  Add your raspberries and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream to the remaining 1/3 cream cheese mixture in the mixer. Beat it until your raspberries are pretty much pulverized and you have a nice, pink-colored mixture.

Once your crust has cooled, gently spread the plain cheesecake mixture over the crust. Then pour the raspberry cheesecake layer on top of the plain cheesecake layer and spread evenly.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside cool – you should probably refrigerate the bars for a few hours before slicing and serving them.

When the bars are nice and chilled, and you’re ready to share (or inhale) them, lift them out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.

Happy eating!

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