Cheesecakes are an American classic, but did you know they originated from Greece? Now, there are dozens of national varieties from Japanese, French, Italian, Australian, Polish, Colombian, and so on and so forth. There are even no-bake, steamed, and oven-baked varieties and topped and flavored with chocolate, berries, and other unlimited choices. However, the most iconic may just be the New York Cheesecake. Rich, dense, and creamy–this cheesecake usually has a cookie-crust base and has a baked cream cheese filling and can be served plain or adorned with a fruit compote.
I’ve posted a recipe for Japanese Cheesecake previously, but I wanted to make a more classic cheesecake for my dessert-loving house visitors. I didn’t want to mess around with my spring-form pan this time, so I decided to make cheesecake bars instead, which are much easier to make and remove from the pan (provided you line your tin!). Using the cake crumbs from my failed attempt at a chocolate cake before, I dried and crushed those to make a chocolate base and opted for a cream-cheese only topping. Since there’s a strong affection for coffee flavored desserts among my relatives, I wanted to reduce the tang and promote that sweet-bitter taste and I flavored half the cream cheese mix with espresso powder.
The final stray from the most classic NY cheesecake is my decision to use a water bath. To be honest, my parents and I don’t like cream cheese or cheesecakes. We find it too heavy and cloying and my relatives agreed that they’d like a slightly less dense version. The best way to do so would be to give an ample amount of moisture and even heat to the cheesecake while baking. While some people are usually fearful of water baths, it’s really quite simple. All you need to do is place the cheesecake pan in a slightly larger pan while it’s dry in the oven and then pour the water in after you’ve placed it inside the oven. That way, you won’t run the risk of water spilling or getting into the cheesecake batter. Once you finished baking and semi-cooling, just remove the pans together and wait till they’ve cooled a bit before taking the cheesecake pan out of the water bath.
For those of you scared of making cheesecakes, don’t be! This cheesecake bar recipe will be your gateway into the world of cheesecake baking. There’s minimal ingredients and hands-on prep involved and your end result will be a lovely, velvety cheesecake with a perfect sweet espresso flavor for your afternoon tea. Take your time and let the cheesecake bake and cool slowly for a no-crack, show-stopping appearance!
Note*** This version of the recipe is solely mine. When re-posting, please cite me and my website.
Copyright june 2016 ©
Espresso Cheesecake Bars
Moist and fluffy cheesecake bars that are easy to make and a perfect midday treat
>>> Yields 8×8 inch pan
-Prep: 20 min
-Bake: 35 min
- 2 C crushed cookie crumbs or dried cake crumbs
- 2 tbsp butter
- optional: extra sugar if you feel that your crumbs need flavor
- 16 oz (2 bars) cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 2/3 C white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp ground coffee granules or instant espresso powder
1) Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a greased 8×8 inch pan with foil or parchment paper.
2) Combine the crushed crumbs and butter and dump the mixture into the pan and press the crumbs firmly on the bottom of the pan to make an even layer.
3) Bake the crust for 6-7 minutes until slightly firm to the touch. Remove and let cool.
4) In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and then sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk. Mix until smooth.
5) Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the pan with the crust and smooth out the layer using a spatula or knife.
6) Add the coffee granules to the remaining cream cheese mixture and stir until combined.
7) Pour the coffee layer on top of the first layer of cheesecake and spread it evenly.
8) (Optional **: Place the pan inside a larger pan and pour water into the outer pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the inner 8×8 inch pan. Place the water bath pan along with the cheesecake pan inside the oven)
Bake for 25 minutes in the oven. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
9) Once the timer goes off, turn off the oven and let the pan stay in the oven for 2 minutes. Then, open the oven a crack to let steam out for 5-7 minutes. Next, widen the oven door another few inches and let the oven cool for 15-20 minutes before removing the pans from the oven.
10) Let the bars cool completely before slicing into equal squares using a sharp knife. For best results, refrigerate overnight before serving to let the cheesecake fully set.