Did I hear someone say “cheesecake”?. Oh, that was me! Yes, well, I fell off the wagon, and I mean big time! But you will remember it was my birthday and Mother’s Day all in the same weekend. So that was my excuse for treating myself and, of course, anyone else who was around to some sinfully rich and oh-so-good chocolate chip cheesecake squares WITH toffee cookie crumb crust. Try saying that three times fast. I could eat one faster than I can say it, and I bet you could, too.
There are so many recipes for cheesecake bars and squares out there, that you could pick any one that you like, but I particularly like this one because it not only includes cream cheese, but also mascarpone. And when you combine those two you can’t expect anything but perfection.
The most commonly used ingredient for making a crust is graham cracker crumbs, but Mr. D. has an allergy to graham crackers, so in their place I usually use shortbread cookies crushed into crumbs. In making these bars I would have done the same except when I was shopping for groceries I spied these cookies called Toffee Sandies by Keebler. Since I’ve always loved pecan sandies, I thought these would make an interesting crust instead.
Cheesecake is a dessert that is very forgiving in that you can add many different flavorings, use all kinds of toppings, change the crust, and bake in a variety of pans. It still comes out creamy and delicious. So you really can’t go wrong. If you need a dessert that everyone will love, give this stellar creation a try.
CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESECAKE BARS WITH TOFFEE COOKIE CRUST
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups toffee sandies—fine crumbs
- 5 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened ( 1/3 less fat variety, OK )
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup semisweet (or your choice) chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
1. Place the toffee sandies in a food processor bowl and pulse to fine crumbs; place in a mixing bowl.
2. Add melted butter and mix well.
3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 inch pan. I made one and a half times the recipe, thus you see a larger pan.
4. Bake crust for 10 – 12 minutes at 325*F.
5. Allow to cool while you make the filling.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cheeses, sugar, zest and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add eggs one at a time, beat on low speed just until combined.
3. Fold in chocolate chips
4. Pour over crust and smooth with an offset spatula
5. Bake at 325 *F for 35 – 40 minutes or until center is just set and top begins to brown.
6. Remove pan from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes
7. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer then refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
SOURCE: adapted from A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis