Black and White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

 

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Happy New Year!!! Since it’s not New Year without an ill-fated resolution or two, I decided to firstly, improve my post-uploading frequency and secondly, I chose the old favourite of eating healthier and keeping fit. Unfortunately, the post below shows how short-lived that was – I succumbed within twelve hours. We all knew it was going to happen though, right? So better late than never. This recipe was completely worth it though.

It’s a traybake with a chewy, dense chocolate base, almost like a brownie, with a white chocolate cheesecake topping and extra dollops of the chocolate dough spread liberally over the whole thing. It needs a few hours to set, so leave yourself plenty of time to put it together. From past experience, it still tastes really good after a couple of days stored in an airtight container. This serves well as an indulgent teatime snack or as a dinner party dessert.

This recipe yields 12-15 bars. Use a 23x30cm (9x12in) baking tray.

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 250g (90z) unsalted butter
  • 420g (15oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 380g (13oz) plain flour
  • 60g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 80g (3oz) white chocolate chips
  • 300g (10.5oz) full-fat cream cheese
  • 60g (2oz) icing sugar
  • 1 large egg

 

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Method

Using a hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure every bit of the mixture is incorporated.

Sift together the remaining ingredients, then add to the batter into two batches, mixing in the freestanding mixer or folding in by hand.

Cut off approximately one-quarter of the dough, cover with cling film and place in the fridge. Line the baking tray with baking parchment, then press the remaining dough into the tray. Create a lip around the sides of the tray to hold the cheesecake mixture once it’s poured in and try to make this base as even as possible. Allow it to set in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C (325F), gas mark 3.

Remove the base from the fridge and bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle – you’ll be covering it with cheesecake later anyway so it won’t make a difference. Allow to cool completely in the tin before adding the topping, but keep the oven on for cooking the finished cheesecake.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Using the electric whisk, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, then stir the melted chocolate into the cheesecake mixture by hand.

Spread the mixture on to the cooled base, then remove the reserved dough from the fridge and crumble in large pieces over the cheesecake.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the cheesecake has set, then allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge for a few hours to set. Once set, cut the cheesecake into squares or rectangles to serve. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to eat it.

 

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Blondies

I am so sorry for the lack of posts recently! My hiatus over the last couple of weeks has been down to being really busy at work, as well as a last-minute trip abroad to visit family. Please accept my profuse apologies in the form of this recipe, which I think (I’m pretty sure) you’ll enjoy.

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Blondies, for those of you unfamiliar with them, are a white chocolate version of brownies. The pecans prevent them from tasting too sickly-sweet and also give them a pleasantly crunchy texture. When melting the chocolate, I would recommend leaving the butter out of the bain-marie until the chocolate has gotten well on its way to melted, otherwise the butter will melt very quickly and may start to burn if the temperature is not quite right.

This recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and makes about 12 pieces.

Ingredients

150g white chocolate, broken into pieces
125g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
a pinch of salt
120g pecan nuts, chopped

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 33 x 23 x 5cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a bain-marie. Leave until they have melted together to form a smooth mixture.

Remove from heat and add the sugar, stirring until well incorporated. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and stir briskly. The mixture may look like it is starting to split – don’t worry; this is normal. Add the flour, salt and pecan nuts and stir until distributed evenly throughout the mix.

Spoon the mixture into the baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and the centre is still soft. Leave to cool completely and cut into squares.

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Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

 

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These delicious little squares of pure goodness are almost like jam tarts, with their pastry-like base and topping and the sweet layer of raspberry jam which always seems to taste so much better when it’s been cooked. The addition of oats makes them a little bit healthier and a whole lot yummier. They’re the perfect lazy day bake because they’re just so easy and take so little time – they’re also much too easy to eat. I made these on a Sunday morning – by the afternoon they were gone without so much as a crumb left on the plate, which for my family of three must be a record.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Elissa’s blog, 17 and Baking.

This recipe yields about 12 good-sized squares.

195g self-raising flour

95g light brown sugar

½ tsp salt

150g unsalted butter

1 tsp milk

120g oats

200g jam

 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 9”x9” baking dish.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and using a handheld electric whisk, mix on a low speed until a dough starts to form, then add the milk.

Knead in the oats until well combined.

Put a cupful of dough to the side – this is what will serve as the crumble topping. Press the rest of the dough evenly into the dish.

Spread the jam evenly over the top. If this stage proves difficult, you can try warming the jam for a few seconds in the microwave. Crumble the reserved dough evenly over the top.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until the topping is golden) and cool completely in the dish on a rack. Use a knife to loosen the sides before lifting out and cutting into bars on a board.

 

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