Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cubicle kitchen: Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

There are some common phrases heard when I bring my treats to coffee klatch each week.  Along with inquiries about this installment made in curious hunger (or is it hungry curiosity?), there is often an incredulous questioning as to how I can possibly make all of these things and stay so thin.

It's a hard question to answer.  I usually say, 'Because I have you all eat them!' which is true.  You can't  get fat on food you don't eat.  But really, I think it's just one of those serendipitous situations where everything comes together: my love of baking lots and lots of things, my inability to eat them all myself, and their desire to help me out with that.

Oftentimes, licking the bowl and sneaking a few wayward crumbs is enough to satisfy my craving for a particular treat.  Some, though, are just too good not to have one or two pieces all for myself.  This one right here, it is so one of those recipes.  In fact, one or two would be an understatement.  These are rich, creamy, and delicious.

I feel like a bit of an innovator with these cheesecake bars.  We've all seen cookie crusts made from crushed Oreos and melted butter.  But what about Pop-Tarts?  I grew up loving the Frosted Strawberry breakfast pastries. Now they come in all of these crazy flavors, the lines between breakfast and dessert are even more blurred.

Allow me to make things even fuzzier.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from My Baking Addition: Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Makes a (very full) 7" x 11" pan


For the crust:
  • 5 Red Velvet Pop-Tarts
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
  • 12 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 3 Red Velvet Pop-Tarts, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Reduce Pop-Tarts to crumb (using a food processor or by securing in a Ziploc bag and pounding).  Add melted butter and press evenly into prepared* pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, as you prepare the cheesecake filling.  Keep the oven on after removing the crust.
  3. Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add sugar and continue mixing until incorporated.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and yogurt, making sure to fully incorporate after each addition.
  5. Fold in the chopped Pop-Tarts.
  6. Pour the cheesecake mixture evenly over the baked crust.  Bake 40-50 minutes, until the edges are set.
  7. Allow the pan to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge to cool completely before serving.  Cut into squares.
*Again, for me, prepared means fitted with parchment paper.

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