Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup & Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
By Dara Michalski of
While living in New York City, I made every effort to stay hush-hush about my apathy for cheesecake. Getting a decent apartment in Manhattan was
difficult enough. I certainly wasn’t going to ‘fess up to my dessert inadequacies when it came to one of the pride and joys of my adopted city. To compensate for my shortcoming, I made a big show of folding my slice of pizza in half, honking the car horn at least once every 3 blocks, and talking about walking my dawg while drinking my cawffee. I had them fooled, right up until the point when I told someone to “Take off, eh?” It wasn’t until I moved west again that my acceptance, and eventual affection, for cheesecake blossomed. As much as I came to appreciate the silky, tangy filling that defines this dessert, there was nary a homemade cheesecake to be found in my kitchen. Not wanting to jump in with two feet, my New York spunkiness momentarily drained from me, I opted for bars over a whole cheesecake. After adding chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to the filling and drizzling the baked bars with melted chocolate, I was rewarded with a bar that caused my eyes to roll back in my head. They washed down beautifully with a cup of cawffee.
- 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
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.
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.
Bake until the crust is beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the crust cool on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Using the overhanging foil, lift the bars from the pan. Gently remove the foil and cut into 16 bars.
Place the 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.
Makes 16 bars.