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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Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

As promised, here is another recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book Cake Days. After many attempts at making cookies that invariably ended in a hot mess on a baking tray, I tried this recipe and had great success with it. The batter isn’t runny like many others I’ve tried and holds its shape while baking, leading to lovely and round cookies. To make them slightly softer and chewier, I used dark brown sugar in place of light brown. You can adjust the amount of cranberries and white chocolate chips that you use according to your personal taste – I didn’t want mine to be too sweet so used smaller quantities than recommended by the original recipe.

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I got 8 large cookies from this recipe.

  • 135g unsalted butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 190g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (I left this out)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 60g white chocolate

Recipe
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Using a whisk, cream the butter and two types of sugar together until smooth and well-combined before breaking in the egg and adding the vanilla essence. Mix well.

Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda together, then add half of this to the butter and sugar mixture and mix by hand. Add the second half and continue mixing until a dough forms. Finally stir in the cranberries and white chocolate.

Break off pieces of the dough and roll into balls about 3-4cm. Place on the baking sheets, making sure to leave enough space between balls for them to spread out whilst in the oven. I’d recommend putting no more than six cookies on each baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. As soon they turn light golden on top, remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack – they should solidify as they cool, which gives them a chewy texture.

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Enjoy!