Bake from Scratch

Sarah Kieffer


The Vanilla Bean Blog




Makes about 24 bars

Cheesecake bars are a holiday favorite—they contain all the glory of cheesecake but are less fussy to make. This version swirls chocolate and caramel into the batter and is then topped with ganache.

1¼ cups (163 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1½ cups (300 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar, divided
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted and divided
3 (8-ounce) packages (680 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup (180 grams) sour cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
4 ounces (113 grams) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
⅓ cup (100 grams) caramel sauce
6 ounces (175 grams) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup (180 grams) heavy whipping cream

1. Position oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and 3 tablespoons (36 grams) sugar. Using a silicone spatula, stir in 4 tablespoons (56 grams) melted butter until combined. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

3. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Wrap outside of pan in a double layer of foil, shiny side out. Leave oven on.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until light and completely smooth, 4 to 6 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add remaining 1½ cups (300 grams) sugar, and beat at medium speed until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add sour cream, vanilla, and salt,

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