Cheesecake bars are one of those desserts that everyone loves. For this recipe I decided to mix the classic cheesecake bar with a delicious sweet yet tangy homemade cranberry sauce. It only takes a few minutes to whip up, and they taste incredible. This would be the perfect dessert for a holiday party or family gathering.
Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
makes about 20 bars
For the crust:
5 ounces graham crackers
2 TBS sugar
4 TBS butter, melted
For the filling:
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1⁄3 cup orange or apple juice
2 (8-ounce) packages of low fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until incorporated. Dump the mixture in the baking dish and press the crumbs into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake until slightly firm, about 12 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and cool completely.
For the filling:
In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the mixture is syrupy. Cool for about 20-30minutes. Set aside.
Combine the remaining sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with an electric/stand mixer at until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add a dash of salt and beat until combined.
Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled crust. Drop dollops of the cranberry mixture into the cream cheese mixture and swirl with a butter knife. They may sink into the cheesecake, this is fine.
Bake at 350°F until the cheesecake is set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill the cheesecake until firm, at least 4 hours. Cut into small squares and serve.
***For optional cranberry glaze
Combine 1⁄3 cup cranberries, 1⁄4 cup apple or orange juice, and 2 TBS of sugar in a small saucepan. Cook until boiling, and then using a fork mash the cranberries. Remove from heat.
Using a small strainer, pour the cranberry mixture through and into a bowl. Reserve the sauce and toss the chunky cranberry pieces. Place the strained sauce back in the saucepan, and turn on medium/high heat. In a small bowl or cup, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 TBS cold water. Pour into cranberry syrup in saucepan and allow to come up to a boil, while stirring constantly with a whisk or spatula. Once the sauce has thickened up (only takes a minute or 2), remove from heat and pour over cheesecake bars when serving.
What’s your favorite flavor of cheesecake?