Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

I was so excited about fall finally getting here.  And now all of a sudden I feel like it's almost coming to a close.  

Technically, of course, that's ridiculous because if you look at a calendar, they don't consider winter to actually start until December twenty-something.  Which is insane.  I don't care where you are, by December 20-whatever, it is WINTER.  Heck, I'm already having to stay my hand from turning on Christmas music.

My somewhat convoluted point is this.  I had such a grand plan for my fall baking this year.  I had so many projects I wanted to undertake, so many new foods to try.  Well, you know what they say about our best laid plans...

So here I am, what with all of two posts or something for the whole month of November?  That's pathetic.  

Sure I've been busy, that's always the convenient excuse isn't it?  I mean we're all busy.  Speaking of busy, I start pre-preparing food for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Exciting right?  This is my first year preparing the sacred turkey feast for actual adults, or as I like to call them, "real people". 

But before I get into Thanksgiving stuff, let's talk about chocolate and cream cheese.

I've been meaning to make a legitimate cheesecake for awhile but I've always made excuses.  Valid excuses (some of them), but excuses all the same.  I'm impatient and cheesecake has to refrigerate, often overnight.  It has to be served cold so I can't bring it into work.  I know nothing about spring form pans.  So I've been dragging my feet.  Making cheesecake bars makes it a lot more approachable for me.

I, like most lady-types, lovelovelovelovelove cheesecake.  Five loves, all necessary, yes.  Most any kind, too.  But as we've learned from timeless classics like chicken cordon bleu and turducken...the only sure-fire way to take a great thing and make it even greater is to stuff an equally delicious food, get this, inside the original food.  Boom.

Thus I give you, oreo cheesecake bars.  You HAVE to have to have to have the oreo crumb crust.  It's the best part, if that wasn't obvious.  I mean there's no bad part, but the crust is the best.

So before Thanksgiving hits, if you need a chocolate fix...or maybe just something to take your mind off all the pumpkin you're going to be inundated with tomorrow...check these out!

Oreo Cheesecake Bars
(adapted from Annie's Eats)

1 package Oreos (about 35)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
6 Tbsp granulate sugar
6 Tbsp plain greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg 
1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with foil, making sure that the excess foil hangs over the sides.  This will make the cheesecake easier to remove from the dish later.  

For the crust: place about 23 Oreos in a food processor.  Pulse until the cookies are finely ground.  Pour the melted butter into the processor as well, pulsing again until the crumbs are moist.  Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press down into an even layer along the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes at 325, then set aside to cool.  Leave the oven on.

For the cheesecake: chop the remaining oreos roughly and set aside.  Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until  light and smooth, roughly 2 minutes.  Mix in the sugar.  Add the yogurt, vanilla, and salt, and stir until combined.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium until incorporated.  Scrape the sides of the bowl to fully mix ingredients as needed.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped cookies.

Pour the batter into the baked crust in the pan, smoothing into an even layer.  Bake roughly 40 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to turn golden and the middle is still a little wobbly.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for about an hour before covering and refrigerating overnight.

To cut, use the foil overhanging the sides of the pan to lift the bars out.  Place them on a cutting board and chop into desired size, cleaning knife with hot water in between each cut.

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