“Black-Bottom Cheesecake Bars” has been sponsored by Ankarsrum Original USA but all photos, thoughts and opinions are my own.
Over the years my sweet-tooth had diminished a lot. NowÂ I find myself attracted to more savory foods likeÂ Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Sauce, Inside out Grilled Cheese, Iowa Pork Tenderloin sandwiches with Tangy Apple Slaw, just to name a few. But there is one dessert that gets me every time. Cheesecake. I just can’t resist it’s creamy deliciousness.
So when I saw the newest Cook the Book with Denise and JenniÂ featured cheesecakes from Melanie Underwood’s bookÂ Making Artisan Cheesecake,Â I knew I couldn’t miss it. (You can watch the replay here.)
Every cheesecake they made on the show looked amazing! But as soon as I saw the Black-Bottom Cheesecake bars I knew I had to make them. AND it was a perfect recipe to test out my new Ankarsrum Original mixer! I just received it the day before and it was sitting on my counter begging to be used.
This recipe calls for aÂ batch of freshly-madeÂ whipped cream; half goes into the vanilla cheesecake layer and half goesÂ on as a top layer. The double beater, a standard option with the Ankarsrum Original, made quick work of the whipped cream. Actually, it worked a little bit too well! I wasn’t watching closely and I over beat the cream. Lesson learned, don’t walk away from the mixer when making whipped cream.
Black-Bottom Cheesecake Bars takes a bit more time to make than a standard bar recipe, but it is so worth the extra effort. All the steps are are fairly simple and explained in detail,Â so even the most inexperienced person can make them.
NOTE: Be sure to read through the recipe carefully first so you don’t make a silly mistake like I did. I actually added 1/2 of the whipped cream to the chocolate layer, oops!
Black-Bottom Cheesecake Bars
First off, make the cookie crust so that it will be completely cool when you add the layers. I used a 14.3 oz package of regular Oreo cookies with a stick of melted, unsalted butter, and I didn’t add theÂ sugar since Oreos are very sweet on their own.Â Place the cookie crumb mixÂ into a 9X13 pan and, using your palm or the bottom of a glass, press it firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan.Â Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly firm. Set aside and allow to cool.
Once the crust is finished and cooling, start makingÂ the custard layer.
First off, you create the gelatin by mixing 1/4 cup milk in with 2 small packets of the gelatin powder and set it aside. This will turn to a rubbery, semi-hard concoction, but it’s supposed to look like that, so don’t be alarmed. My daughter thought it was ruined when she handed me the bowl.
You can make the custardÂ one of two ways. Add the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and eggs all together in a saucepan then place onto the heat, mixing thoroughly until thickened.
Or, you can boil the milk and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, 1/4 cup of sugar and the cornstarch together completely, and then temper the egg mixture by slowly whisking half of the hot milk mixture into the bowl, stirring well, then add that back into the saucepan of hot milk. This ensures you do not end up with scrambled eggs in your cheesecake, yuck! Either way works fine, I followed the recipe and tempered the egg mixture.
TIP: be sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved before you put it on the heat or it will get clumpy.
Once the custard has finished cooking, remove the saucepan from the heatÂ and whisk in the cream cheese and vanilla until it has combined completely.
Next, add the gelatin mixture to the panÂ of vanilla custard and whisk until combined. Let itÂ cool while you make the whipped cream.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whip attachment, combine the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat on medium high until stiff peaks form.
Divide the whipped cream in half, add oneÂ half to the cooled vanilla mixture.
When completely combined and cooled, pour the vanilla mixture on top of the chocolate layer. Spread to the edges of the pan and smooth the top.
Then, top the vanilla layer with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings or more crushed Oreos. (My girls actually added crushed Oreos to the top of theirs.)
I refrigerated theÂ Black-Bottom Cheesecake Bars overnight. The next morning I wanted to catch the gorgeous sunlight in my kitchen to take photos, so I cut into that baby and WOW! It is incredible!Â Even my daughter who doesn’t like cheesecake loved it. It’s a rich, creamy dessert bar, but not overly sweet like some cheesecake can be. This recipe will definitely make it into our treat rotation!
This recipe is based on black bottom pie, which is a chocolate crust, layers of chocolate and vanilla puddings, and whipped cream. Here, Melanie used cream cheese as well as milk for the custard. The crust needs to be doubled here so it is thick enough to support the custard. Although these take a little more time to make, they are well worth it! Variation: Black Bottom Mint Cheesecake Bars Substitute mint extract for the vanilla.
- Cookie Crust made with Oreos
- 3 cups (705 ml) milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) granulated gelatin (2 packets of unflavored Knox Gelatin)
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 g) sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons (24 g) cornstarch
- 6 ounces (170 g) cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
- 6 ounces (170 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cups (470 ml) heavy cream, cold (recipe follows)
- 1 cup (100 g) chocolate shavings (for garnish)
- 1¾ cups (205 g) finely ground cookie crumbs (about 10 graham crackers or 32 vanilla wafers, chocolate wafers, or gingersnaps) (for crust) (I used one 14.3 oz package of Oreos)
- 2 tablespoons (26 g) sugar (I omitted the sugar)
- 8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted
To make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4).
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground cookies or nuts and sugar (in this case, Oreos--I omitted the sugar because the Oreos are already very sweet).
- Add the butter and stir with a rubber spatula to combine, making sure all the butter is absorbed and the crumbs or nuts are evenly coated.
- Place in a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly firm. (The nut crust will be toasted to a golden brown and have a nutty aroma.)
- Let cool completely before adding the cheesecake batter, about 10 minutes.
To make the cheesecake:
- In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup (60 ml) of the milk and the gelatin; set aside.
- In a medium-size saucepan, whisk together the remaining 2¾ cups (645 ml) milk and ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar.
- Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-size heatproof bowl, whisk together ¼ cup (50 g) sugar, the eggs, and the cornstarch until completely combined.
- Slowly whisk half of the milk mixture into the eggs.
- Place the egg mixture back in the saucepan with the milk.
- Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese and vanilla until completely combined.
- Remove 1 cup (240 ml) (I used 1½ cups to add a little more chocolate layer) of the mixture and place in a small heatproof bowl; immediately add the chocolate and whisk until completely combined and the chocolate is melted; set aside.
- Add the milk and gelatin mixture to the bowl of vanilla and whisk until combined; set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whip attachment, combine the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar and beat on speed 4 to 6 until stiff peaks form.
- Divide the whipped cream in half and add half to the cooled vanilla mixture.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream until completely combined.
- Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the crust and use a small offset spatula to spread so that the mixture reaches the edges of the pan and is smooth and level on top.
- Pour on the vanilla mixture, and again spread it to the edges and until smooth and level.
- Top with the remaining whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
- Allow to cool at room temperature.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (this will help the cheesecake set completely).
- Remove from the refrigerator and slice into squares to serve.
Don’t you just LOVE my new Ankarsrum Original Mixer? Here are the details in case you want to check it out. I’m totally in love with it!
The Ankarsrum Original Kitchen Machine (formerly known as Verona, Magic Mill, Electrolux Assistent, DLX), a favorite mixer of Swedish cooks since 1940, is now available for North American homeowners. Fashioned from sturdy chrome and steel, this 600 watt professional quality kitchen tool is a durable all-purpose mixer that produces superior baking results. A variety of optional attachments transforms the Ankarsrum Original into a complete kitchen center, eliminating the need for a separate food processor, meat grinder, or slicer. The Ankarsrum Original offers professional functionality and versatility in one convenient counter top tool.
Watch the video below to learnÂ more about the Ankarsrum Original!