Happy July 4th! Oh wait…I’m a little bit late on that aren’t I? Well, the good news is, every day is a good day to celebrate America and our freedom. Every day is a good day to find an excuse to eat dessert.
So on this hump day, I extend America’s birthday and bring you my celebratory, colorful, and sugar coma-inducing decadent treat. Maybe since the 4th of July has passed, you can make these for Memorial Day to celebrate the end of summer. Or just make them on a random day of the week just to celebrate life and have something delicious, because, my dear friends, life is too short not to eat dessert. Priorities.
My recipe for the week: Festive Cheesecake Bars
The great thing about these Cheesecake bars, they don’t have to be red, white, and blue. You can use whatever colors you want to customize them to your party or occasion. Really then, this dessert is an “Eat Any Time of Year” dessert. Another great thing about these, they fit in the palm of your hand, no fork required. Great on-the-go breakfast. (Just kidding, although people eat donuts for breakfast so why not cheesecake bars? Again, priorities.)
Allow plenty of time, space, and room in your stomach, to make these cheesecake bars. You’ll want to lick the bowl as you go, trust me. Make the crust first, so that it can cool while you put together the cheesecake filling. You’ll want the crust completely cool before you go pouring on the cold cheesecake batter on top.
The cheesecake is a pretty basic cheesecake base. Ensure that all your ingredients are room temperature before mixing anything. Because there is so much dairy, you don’t want any of it to be ice cold or that mixture will curdle.
The fun part is definitely separating the batter (I did three separate bowls for the three colors but you can do as many as you want), coloring it (wear a smock because food coloring is so hard to get off of clothes. It even stains your hands for a while), and swirling.
Drop different colors in blocks on top of the cookie crust. Mix up where you are putting the colors, but try to make them all the same size. Then take a toothpick or small knife and let the swirling begin. Gently drag through the top of the colors, going up and down, back and forth. Don’t dig too far down to hit the crust. Keep it at the surface.
Once you like the design, go ahead and bake. It is extremely important with cheesecake to bake it in a water bath. This ensures that you have even cooking all around, and that it cooks slowly throughout, not baking the top layer too fast and leaving a gooey underneath. I put about an inch of water on a sheet pan, let that heat up in the oven, and then placed the cheesecake pan on top when it was ready to bake.
After baking, let it stand on the counter for one hour, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Serve, and marvel in everyone’s googly eyes at your beautiful swirl art masterpiece.
4th of July Cheesecake Bars
For the crust:
30 Oreo cookies (I used the entire package)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
3- 8oz packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
Red and blue food gels
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line with foil or spray a 9X13 pan.
- Place the cookies, cream included, in a food processor. Pulse until the cookies become crumbs.
- Stir in the butter until all mixed together. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
- Place a large baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Fill halfway with water. Let the oven preheat again.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla, and flour and beat again.
- Add the eggs and beat in.
- Divide the batter evenly between three bowls. Use the food coloring to tint two of the bowls.
- Spoon the mixture in blocks over the crust, alternating colors.
- Drag a toothpick or butter knife through the batter until you get a good swirl pattern.
- Place the pan on the water bath. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Let the cheesecake cool on the counter for one hour, then refrigerate for 4-6 hours.