Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

I decided to take a break from cake making this past weekend and make a special treat for my family that was visiting. I found a great recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake bars on the Tasty Kitchen
Cheesecake...peanut butter cups...chocolate drizzle...pretty much as delicious as you think they are going to be! Here's the recipe along with a few notes from me.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars 
adapted from the Tasty Kitchen

1/4 cup of Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs (or 7 graham crackers crushed)
6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons All purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2- 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Minis (the unwrapped ones)
2 oz of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil, making sure to leave 3-4 inches of foil draping over the sides.
To prepare the crust:
In a medium sized bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs (or alternately crush graham crackers in food processor to form crumbs) with the butter, brown sugar, flour and salt. Mix until fully combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom of your baking pan until the entire bottom is evenly covered.
Bake the crust for about 12 to 15 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. Let cool for 30 minutes.
The filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until very smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters frequently. Gradually beat in the sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Gently fold in the peanut butter cups into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the mixture onto the prepared crust. Be sure to spread evenly.
To bake:
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly when gently shook.  Rotate the pan halfway through cooking.
Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool for 2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
Remove from the pan by lifting up the foil sides. Cut as desired.
Place the chocolate into a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute at 50% power, stirring after 30 seconds until completely melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars. You can garnish each piece with a peanut butter cup and serve!

A few notes from me...
I was thrilled to find the mini peanut butter cups. They are new, so if your store doesn't carry them, you can buy 12 whole cups (that's 6 packages) and chop them into 4 to 6 pieces. I put my peanut butter cups into the mixture whole. If you use the minis, I suggest cutting them in half so that they are distributed more evenly. 

If you leave them overnight to chill in the refrigerator (like I did), then let them sit out a half hour or so before you serve them. I found that when eating them straight out of the fridge, the peanut butter cups where a little hard. Not that it deterred me one little bit from instantly devouring a couple ;)

This yummy recipe got me thinking...maybe trying it with snickers (my favorite) or another chocolate candy. Give it a try and let me know if you come up with another delicious combination! Enjoy :)

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