I just finished writing my 5th cookbook.
It has nothing to do with the recipe I am posting today. The book is all about Asian cuisine, and I have included recipes and information about Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisine. I am telling you this because all I have been cooking for the last few weeks is Asian food, and this little blogger needed something sweet as quickly as possible. It also happens that this craving for sugar laced cookie snacks coincided with my part-time day job’s annual office bake-off. Not that you should put too much stock in awards, but this IS an award winning recipe. I won $33.00 to a fancy-dancy cooking store!
These bars are very rich, and while I say they serve 24 that is being pretty generous. You could easily cut these into 36 bars and no one would feel deprived. The cheesecake layer – which is tangy and not too sweet – blends seamlessly into the somewhat gooey cookie layers. While testing this recipe I discovered that I got the best top layer coverage if I scoped the dough into my palm and gently flattened it before placing it on the cheesecake layer. If that is too fiddly for you, skip it. They will still taste amazing. I recommend letting these bars come to room temperature before serving so the flavors shine. Too warm from the oven, or cold from refrigerator storage, ruins the sharpness of the cream cheese as it plays against the buttery brown sugar flavors of the cookies.
- Cookie layer:
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- For the cheesecake layer:
- 1 ½ bars cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Begin by preparing the cookie layers.
- In the work bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, add the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Beat on low speed until the mixture is combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat the butter and sugar mixture for 1 minute, or until lighter in color and somewhat fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low until the flour is just combined, about 10 seconds. Add 2 ½ cups the chocolate chips and mix on low until evenly distributed, about 10 seconds more.
- Lightly grease a 9x13-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the cookie dough mixture in half. Press one half of the dough evenly into the pan. If you need more dough to cover the pan take it from the reserved half, but remember you want a thin layer.
- Heat the oven to 325F. Next, prepare the cheesecake filling.
- In the work bowl of a food processor add the cream cheese and brown sugar. Process until the mixture is completely smooth and the sugar has mostly dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and vanilla. Process until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add the cream and sour cream and process until no streaks of white remain, about 20 seconds.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cookie layer. Spread it to the edges with a spatula. Using a disher, or two spoons, scoop golf ball sized pieces of the remaining cookie dough. Flatten the dough with your fingers and lay it carefully on the cheesecake mixture. Try to cover as much of the cheesecake as you can. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges of the bars are firm and the center is slightly wobbly. Cool the bars completely in the pan then carefully turn them out onto a cutting board and slice. Serve at room temperature, and refrigerate any leftovers.
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