Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars
It’s hard to think of a better combination than peanut butter and chocolate. I can personally eat spoonful after spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar (really healthy, I know), and I’m guilty of overindulging in chocolate. When I stumbled on this recipe for Reese’s peanut butter cup cheesecake I knew it was a match made in heaven. What’s better than peanut butter and chocolate? Peanut butter, chocolate, and cheesecake. But really. I cannot express how unbelievable these cheesecake bars were. Maybe it was the chunks of peanut butter cups hidden in the cheesecake, or the chocolate drizzled on top. Whatever it is, these cheesecake bars had my friends and me going crazy for them. One of my friends actually said that this was a dessert for the gods. I don’t know if I’ll be making these for the gods…but I’m sure you will enjoy these. I mean, how could you not?
Reeses’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
recipe adapted from Cookin’ Canuck (http://cookincanuck.blogspot.com/2010/02/reeses-peanut-butter-chocolate.html)
7 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 (8 oz. each) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 Reese’s peanut butter cups (0.75 oz each), divided, cut into 6 pieces each
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare a 8-inch square baking pan by lining the pan with aluminum foil, leaving 3-4 inches of foil draping over the sides of the pan.
2. Place graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the crackers form fine crumbs, about 30 seconds. To the crumbs, add butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt. Pulse until the ingredients are fully combined. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers, press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. (I don’t have a food processor, so I put the graham crackers in a ziploc bag and crushed them up with my hands. Then, I used a mixer to combine the ingredients)
3. Bake until the crust is beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside, and let the crust cool for about 30 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until it is very smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape the beaters and sides of bowl frequently. Gradually beat in granulated sugar until the mixture is combined, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, one a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated. Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract until fully combined, about 30 seconds.
5. Unwrap and cut 9 Reese’s peanut butter cups (0.75 ounce each) into 6 pieces. Gently fold into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the cream cheese mixture into the baking pan, over top of the cooled crust. Spread evenly.
6. Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken slightly, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
7. Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow the bars to cool for 2 hours. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.
8. Using the overhanging foil, lift the bars from the pan. Gently remove the foil and cut into bars.
9. Place bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Microwave on 50% power until melted, stirring every 15 seconds. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars, top each with a small chunk of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and serve.
(I wanted to leave the cheesecake bars in the pan, so I drizzled chocolate on top before cutting the bars.)