Eggnog Cheesecake Cookie Bars

IMG_2086I’ve realized this was probably the best time of year to get in to baking. There are so many holiday flavors that are fun and easy to experiment with.

Eggnog is one of those things I’ve never loved. We didn’t grow up with it around, and it’s never been something I’ve tried to grow fond of. But, these eggnog cheesecake bars definitely flip the script on how I think of eggnog.

My favorite part of eating and making these is the cookie layer. See, you could easily just dollop little balls of cookie on top of the cheesecake layer. But that’s not fun. When you make this recipe, get hands-y with your dessert, and spread that cookie layer so that it becomes engulfed by the cheesecake. Then, it turns in to like an eggnog sandwich filled with cookie.

Here’s the other thing about doing that: the baking powder in the cookies will make it seem like the cheesecake is also expanding, and the final effect looks like a creme brûlée. Definitely the way to go.

One note: I had some mascarpone cheese left from our fudge recipe last week, so I went half and half between cream cheese and mascarpone. Definitely not a must do, but I like the bite that mascarpone gives. IMG_2082

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 8-10 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp rum extract (we’re going to carry that eggnog flavor through the whole dessert)

Cheesecake:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese (can just do 16 oz cream cheese and scrap mascarpone)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp rum extract (you can also just use rum)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Cookie – think snickerdoodles:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used whole, but 1-2% works as well)

Cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pan with baking spray. I used a 13×9 Pyrex, so that’s what I’m going off of here.
  2. In a food processor, run graham crackers until they turn to crumbs. Add in melted butter and rum extract and pulse until combined.
  3. Line the bottom of your baking dish with your crumb crust. Press firmly in to the pan.
  4. Bake the crust for 5 minutes – this gives the crust an extra chance to form before you add layers to it.
  5. For the cheesecake, beat cream cheese and mascarpone (or just cream cheese, if that’s how you went) with sugar, eggs, rum extract and nutmeg using the whisk attachment of your mixer. Beat for 3-4 minutes on medium speed until nice and fluffy. Pour over crust and spread evenly.
  6. For the cookie, I used a hand mixer, but the electric mixer is fine as well. Beat butter with sugar until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla and beat together. Add in baking powder, salt, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat until fully combined. Add milk and beat until well blended. The milk will make it nice and moist.
  7. Pour dough on to the cheesecake layer. Now give that cookie a massage. Spread it with your fingers until you get it spread over the entire pan. Your cookies will be more dense than your cheesecake (SCIENCE!), which is what we want. Get that cheesecake layer to pour over your dough until you can’t see the dough anymore.
  8. The top layer is essentially a cinnamon sugar. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and spices. Sprinkle generously over the cookie layer.
  9. Bake for about 35 minutes.
  10. Cheesecake layer might still wiggle, but that’ll change as it cools and sets. Remove from the oven to cool.
  11. Once completely cooled, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours.

3 thoughts on “Eggnog Cheesecake Cookie Bars

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