Strawberry Swirl Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars.
Creamy cheesecake swirled with strawberries and dotted with chocolate chips. These bars are so much easier than making an entire cheesecake!
It’s Friday! TGIF. My weekends lately have been an extension of my work week. Bake, cookbook, blog, run, play with Jude, repeat. But this weekend we have plans to go out Saturday night. And I’m so excited, so I made cheesecake bars to celebrate.
Because why not?!
Growing up, my mom would make an impressive chocolate chip cheesecake during the holidays. It was so decadent! So rich! So perfect. I took her idea, swirled in a little strawberry jam (who doesn’t love strawberry and chocolate?!), and made fancy (yet simple!) cheesecake bars. They’re the best lazy-Friday kind of dessert.
Sometimes I’d rather make a big pan of cheesecake bars instead of an actual cheesecake. It takes much less effort, less ingredients, and less time to whip up a pan of these cheesecake bars than to make its cheesecakey cousin.
Dessert bars are also non-committal. Have a small one, a big one, have two, have three. Plus, they are finger food. No extra forks to wash. Less dishes is always a win in my book!
To make the bars, I simply used the same basic idea as my Snickers Cheesecake Bars. I whipped up a quick homemade graham cracker crust. Graham cracker crumbs, some sugar, and melted butter. Nothing more, nothing less. The graham cracker crust is nice and crunchy, which is a fabulous contrast to the creamy dreamy cheesecake. Layer a few chocolate chips on top of the crust before the filling.
The basic cheesecake filling is beyond simple. 4 ingredients – that’s it! Softened cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat it all together until nice and smooth and pour it evenly over the chocolate chips. Make sure it is nice and smooth.
But that’s not all! Swirl 1/4 cup of strawberry jam into the filling before baking. Sometimes I use 1/4 cup, sometimes 1/3 cup. It’s up to you and how much swirl you want. If you’d like to make your own jam, you could use 1/4 cup of the strawberry filling from my Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes instead.
One more layer. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips onto the swirled cheesecake before baking. In my world, there is always room for more chocolate. Especially when strawberries are involved. I love everything about chocolate and strawberries together!
So you have five easy layers worked into these cheesecake bars. Crunchy graham cracker crust, chocolate chips, creamy cheesecake, strawberry swirl, more chocolate chips. It’s complete texture contrast paradise for all you texture freaks out there.
Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes. Waiting for these babies to chill before digging in is torture. If you cut into them too early, the bars will fall apart. Just warning you now!
The festive strawberry swirl makes these bars completely appropriate for the 4th of July holiday. Christmas and Valentine’s Day, too. But you truly don’t need a holiday as an excuse to make these. When the mood strikes you for a creamy, fruity, chocolate treat – these cheesecake bars can be your answer!
Strawberry Swirl Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
Baking a cheesecake as bars is so much easier!
Yield: 16 cheesecake bars
- 12 full-sheet graham crackers (or 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs)
- 6 Tablespoons (90 grams) melted unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 standard packages or 450 grams), softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup (90-100 grams) strawberry jam (Or use 1/4 cup homemade strawberry filling from this recipe)
- 2/3 cup (120 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
Make the crust: Using a food processor or blender, pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. Press into the lined pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.
For the filling: Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract together with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips evenly on top of crust. Spread the filling on top of chocolate chips. Drop large spoonfuls of jam on top of filling and swirl with a knife. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and then completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.
Store bars in a covered container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan, baking time will vary - about 45-55 minutes.
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Today’s recipe has me craving Snickers Cheesecake Bars.
And some S’mores Brownie Pie with a crunchy graham crust.