Chocolate Cheesecake Bars: An ‘Old Reliable’

Chocolate Cream Cheese BarsWow! What a week.  I think I need to unwind and treat myself.  Chocolate cheesecake anyone?

This recipe brings to mind one of my husbands biggest complaints.  I have mentioned before that while he enjoys the variety in my cooking, he kind of wishes that I would bring back the favorites more often.  When I make a dish that was particularly fantastic, it often gets marked with approval and then added to the archives.  I really like to browse through my cookbooks and data base and randomly pick out something new to try instead of choosing something I have made before.  At least half of my weekly menu is made up of recipes I have never made, or my notes and scribblings about one that I am creating.  As a result, Michel-and this happens every few months or so :)-begs me for the basics.  When I get excited about making Indian butter chicken, Mike says, “That sounds great!  Maybe tomorrow we can just have meatloaf.”  When I tell him I made dark chocolate sable cookies with Chinese five-spice powder, he eats them, tells me they are wonderful and then mentions, “You know what we haven’t had in awhile?  My favorite plain ol’ chocolate chip cookies.”  And when the urge to experiment with minestrone hits me, I hear, “Remember that stew you made with the pork and the polenta?  We really loved that.  Can you make that again instead of something new?”  The poor guy.  He eats everything I make, never complains, and continues to be the biggest fan of my cooking.  And since it is him and the kids who I love to cook for more than anything, I want to keep them happy!  If Michel wants something familiar and simple, than that is what he gets!

Chocolate cheesecake is simple and familiar, right…?

In this case, it is.  I made these bars a gazillion years ago for my Mother-In-Law because, if you remember from my previous ramblings, she is a chocolate fanatic!  I try to indulge this feeling as much as possible because it gives me a reason to experiment with new chocolate recipes whenever she is visiting!  Which reminds me…I should have made her the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding when she was here last weekend…oh crumbs…Anyway, I did make her these bars and she liked them just as much now as she did then.  I am not sure why, but I kind of stopped making them for a few years.  Probably to try something new, heh heh.  In some ways, these bars are similar to the Honey Cheesecake Bars in that they are simple and easy and a wonderful way to get your cheesecake fix without having to deal with all the effort a whole cheesecake requires.  But that is where the similarities end.  These are rich and creamy and oooooohhh so chocolaty.  They need to chill until completely cold and this makes them the perfect make-ahead dessert.

So now that I have made something from the ‘old reliable’ category, tomorrow night?  Soufflés!
Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars Chocolate Cream Cheese BarsOne Year Ago: Strawberry Ice Cream & Sweet Veggie Pasta Salad

Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Kraft
When made in an 8X8 pan, I cut these bars into 16 portions or 4 by 4.  I recently made them for a social gathering and I wanted smaller bites so I cut them 5 by 5 into 25 little bars.  Either is great.  Also, this doubles easily for a 9X13 pan if you are serving a large group.  Just add another 15 minutes or so to the cooking time.

14 chocolate sandwich cookies (such as OREO) crushed
3 T butter, melted
Mix these together and press into the bottom of a sprayed 8X8 square pan.  Glass works particularly well.  Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer:
2 pkg cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
1 T flour
Add, with the mixer running:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped and melted until smooth-Baker’s chocolate works great for this
After chocolate is beaten in, beat in:
2 eggs, one at a time

Combine until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl.  Pour over crust, spread until even and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the center is just barely set, but not completely firm.  Cool to room temp and then chill until cold, preferably overnight.