Happy 2018 my friends! I hope you’ve had a great first week of the year so fas and are still feeling strong and ready to face the other 51 weeks ahead.
So I had intentions to start out the year posting regularly here on the blog but the flu season hit our house hard and I have to say I can hardly remember a time when every single member of my family came down with the same virus. A few of us lasted longer than others but eventually we all ended up with it. Not exactly the best way to start the year but now I’m happily over it and ready to kick this year into gear.
So do you guys have any big plans this year? I know we all probably have super long lists of goals, hopes, and dreams but are there any official plans yet? For me the year is pretty wide open as of yet but I am super excited about a trip I’m planning to Southern Cali in a few weeks. It’s somewhere I’ve only been to when I was too young to fully appreciate it. I was pretty much only a baby so the memories are very vague.
Anyway, that’s something I’m looking forward to. I’m also really looking forward to sharing these cheesecake bars with you today! I realize these aren’t going to be too helpful for anyone with intentions to start out this year with perfect balance, but um, aren’t they pretty?
Surprisingly the design on top is not nearly as difficult as you might imagine. It just takes a somewhat steady hand and you should be good to go. I originally started on this recipe with the plan being to make and basic, full-size vanilla cheesecake, but with my ridiculous addiction to adding chocolate to everything and my love for focusing on eye-appeal, these happened.
Oh, speaking of things I love, I’m so excited because since we’ve been living in our current home I’ve been a bit all over the place with my photography set-ups. This may not make any since if you’ve never done much photography, but for those of you who have you’ll understand that it’s all about the lighting and that’s especially true in food photography.
So far I’ve experimented with windows all around our house without finding anywhere that makes sense as a permanent studio area. Yes, well I finally found the perfect area, in our basement actually, and the lighting situation is great for taking my photos.
You see, I’d written this space off as an option thinking that the light couldn’t possibly work from a basement window but it actually fits my needs better than I could have hoped. You see, the window is halfway below ground and faces a wall of whites brick that creates it’s own softening effect. I’m so glad to say I’ll be working from there from now and hopefully having a much easier time then my constant traveling circus of backdrops and camera equipment.
Back on topic though, these cheesecake bars were quite a hit with my gang. They’re simple, just a graham crust with basic cheesecake and a chocolate ganache, so there won’t be any fancy ingredients to buy. However they’re simply elegant. They would make the perfect addition to any dinner party when you’d like to impress the guests with a wonderful finishing touch.
Classic, yet timeless, these cheesecake bars are simple to make but sure to impress the guests.
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full crackers)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces (1 1/2 8oz packages) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and lightly grease and 8x8 inch square pan.
- Stir together the ingredients for the crust until evenly combined, them press into the prepared pan. Place the crust in oven and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth, making sure there are no lumps of cream cheese. Add the sour cream, vanilla, eggs, and salt and beat until combined and super creamy.
- Scrape the cheesecake batter out onto crust and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the set. It should just barely jiggle when the pan is nudged.
- Remove and cool completely for at least 20 minutes.
- Pour the chocolate and 2 tablespoons heavy cream into the bowl of a double boiler (or a microwave-safe bowl if you prefer) and melt over medium low heat, stirring gently as it melts until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly; pour and spread over bars into an even layer.
- Wash the chocolate from the double boiler and add the remaining tablespoon of cream and the white chocolate. Stir over heat until melted then scrape into a zip-lock bag and cut a very small corner to pipe the lines.Draw white chocolate lines across the pan, spacing them about 1/2-inch apart. Once you have your lines use a toothpick and drag it through the lines, first one direction, then the opposite, creating ripples. Continue until you've created a wavy pattern on top of the brownies. Chill the pan for at least an hour before serving.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into squares. For the cleanest cuts, chill at least 2 hours or place in the freezer to get them extra cold. For serving, you may prefer to let the cut bars come closer to cool room temperature for best texture. If you'd like, serve them garnished with chocolate syrup. whipped cream, and a square of chocolate.