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Chocolate cinnamon cheesecake bars

I reached another exciting Instagram milestone (10,000 followers!) and to celebrate I did another dream recipe giveaway. I love doing these contests, because I get to create something extra special based on the imagination and favorite flavors of someone else who loves food and dessert! The best part? We all win a little bit from these chocolate cinnamon cheesecake bars!


Our winner (shout out to Oralia!) loved the idea of a cheesecake bar and wanted to incorporate both chocolate and cinnamon flavors. I knew an Oreo crust would be the way to go here, but there were so many options for the rest of the recipe. In the end, I chose to add cinnamon to the actual cheesecake filling and to top it all off with chocolate ganache! The flavors come together so nicely, and I love it for this time of year when we might be gathering with loved ones because it’s a very shareable dessert.


You’ll have two options for the topping - a dripped ganache or a spreadable one. For the dripped option (my personal favorite) you’ll top each piece individually, and the ganache is a bit thinner allowing it to drip down and cover the sides. The second option, also a great choice, is one that is more spreadable and can be used to cover the full cheesecake before you slice into bars.


The ganache texture isn’t where the customization options end. You could swap out the type of chocolate for your ganache (milk or white), use a different type of cookie or even graham cracker for the crust, and when it comes to the cheesecake you could leave out the cinnamon if that’s not your jam or even add in a different spice or extract.


To take the chocolate flavor a little bit further for this recipe, in the final test round I added chopped semisweet chocolate into the cheesecake filling and it was just what we needed. You can absolutely use chips here instead, but I like that the chopped chocolate provides a smoother bite and really gets evenly distributed.


I baked these cheesecake bars in a 9x9 square pan, but you could absolutely use an 8x8 square or 9x9 round pan. When it comes to cutting your bars, you’ll also have lots of options. You can do 16 squares, or I often like to cut them into 9 larger squares and then diagonally to form triangles. A question I get often about slicing is “do I really need to wait the full freeze time?” The answer is no, but I do recommend it if you’re looking for the cleanest cut! Definitely make sure you allow for an hour at room temperature and two hours in the freezer, but the additional recommended time is really to let your cheesecake set before slicing - it’s more for looks and ease of cutting than anything else!


One last thing to note, this is the first cheesecake recipe that I wrote without the use of a hand or stand mixer. You can ABSOLUTELY use one, but know that if you’ve been wanting to make cheesecake with a whisk, this is your chance. It will be extra important that your cream cheese is at room temperature so I do recommend microwaving it very briefly (5-10 seconds at the absolute most). Just know that if “by hand” isn’t your thing, a stand or hand mixer is always an option.

Ingredients:

Oreo crust

  • 20 crushed Oreos

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4-5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Cheesecake filling

  • 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (can swap in granulated sugar)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or milk)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 oz (1/3 cup) chopped semisweet chocolate

Ganache topping*

  • 4 oz (2/3 cup) chopped semisweet chocolate (can swap in half or all milk chocolate for a sweeter topping)

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

*Note: for the ganache topping, if you would like to spread your ganache on top of your cheesecake instead of dripping it onto each piece, reduce the amount of heavy cream to 1/3 cup and keep the amount of chocolate the same.

Total time: 6 hours including chill and freeze time

Prep time: About 20 minutes

Bake time: About 45 minutes total

Chill time: 2 to 4 hours


Cooking instructions:

If you haven't already, remove your cream cheese from the fridge for later.


First, make your Oreo crust. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place all 20 Oreos into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin, back of a pan, or any flat tool to crush them. Do this in a few rounds to get the cookie pieces as small as you can, but know that it doesn’t need to be a powder. If you have a food processor, you can also use that instead. Into a medium sized bowl, add your crushed Oreos and salt and toss to combine. Melt your 4-5 tablespoons of butter and add it spoonful by spoonful into your dry mixture. Each time you add more butter, use a spoon or spatula to combine and bind the butter with your dry ingredients. Continue to add melted butter until you feel that your Oreos have darkened and the mixture is coming together when you press down with your spoon or spatula.


Line a 9x9in square pan (or you can use an 8x8 pan if that's what you have) with parchment paper. Pour your crust mixture into your lined pan and use the back of a spoon or a flat tool to press the Oreo crust down evenly. You can also use the flat surface of a small bowl or measuring cup to help here. Place your pan into the oven for 5 minutes and then remove to cool.


Meanwhile, make your cheesecake filling. Into a large bowl, add all of your cream cheese. Place the bowl into the microwave for 5-10 seconds to further soften your cream cheese. Use a spatula or large spoon to mash your cream cheese for about 30 seconds to a minute until your cream cheese feels loosened.


Add in your granulated and brown sugar, and continue to press your sugar into your cream cheese until it is fully combined with no cream cheese streaks. Then, add in your cinnamon and keep mixing until your cinnamon is evenly spread throughout your cream cheese mixture.

Next, add in your cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. Start by mixing with your spatula to begin incorporating your wet ingredients into your cream cheese mixture. Then, switch to a whisk and begin mixing more vigorously to really incorporate your liquid into your cream cheese. Keep mixing for a few minutes until you begin to see a consistent texture and little to no clumps of cream cheese (if you see tiny clumps that is okay, but you don’t want any medium to large clumps of cream cheese only). Scrape down the sides of your bowl with your spatula and give your mixture some final whisks.

Now it’s time for your chocolate. In total, this recipe will call for 6 oz of chopped chocolate. You can chop all of it now or wait and chop the chocolate for your ganache later. For your cheesecake filling, you’ll need 2 oz of finely chopped semisweet chocolate.

Once it’s chopped, add your 2 oz of semisweet chocolate into your cheesecake mixture and use your spatula to fold it in.

Dollop your cheesecake mixture over your partially baked Oreo crust and spread it smooth with a spatula or flat tool.

Your oven should still be heated to 350 degrees. Place your cheesecake into the oven for about 35-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when you shake your pan and the cheesecake still jiggles but is set around the edges. It may look damp in the center when done, that is okay! Once it's fully baked, allow your cheesecake bars to cool for about an hour or so at room temperature. Then, place your cheesecake into the freezer for at least two hours, but I recommend four for the cleanest slice. Note you can leave it in the freezer for longer before slicing (I often leave it overnight) you just may need to leave it out at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before slicing.

Slice and top your cheesecake. When your cheesecake is fully set from the freezer, it’s time to slice and top it with your ganache!


For the pourable ganache:

  • Slice your cheesecake into 16 squares, 9 squares and then into triangles, or however you would like! If it feels soft at all, place it back into the freezer or fridge.

  • Pour your 1/2 cup of heavy cream into a small bowl and place into the microwave for about 10 seconds.

  • Add your 4 oz of chopped semisweet chocolate and place back into the microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds.

  • Remove from the microwave and use a whisk or spoon to mix your ganache. Keep going until you have a smooth and glossy consistency without clumps. Let your ganache slightly cool for a few minutes.

  • Place your cheesecake pieces onto a cooling rack (chocolate will likely drip down through the rack) then use a small spoon to drip your pourable ganache on top of each piece of cheesecake, using the back of your spoon to help it spread to the side so you can get the nice drips.

  • Allow your cheesecake slices to set in the fridge until firm to the touch!

For the spreadable ganache:

  • Pour your 1/3 cup of heavy cream into a small bowl and place into the microwave for about 10 seconds.

  • Add your 4 oz of chopped semisweet chocolate and place back into the microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds.

  • Remove from the microwave and use a whisk or spoon to mix your ganache. Keep going until you have a smooth and glossy consistency without clumps.

  • Let your ganache slightly cool for only a few minutes and then use a small spoon or offset spatula to spread your ganache on top of your cheesecake.

  • Place your cheesecake back into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until the top is firm to the touch then slice your cheesecake into 16 squares, 9 squares and then into triangles, or however you would like!

If you have any trouble getting your chocolate to mix into your heavy cream when making your ganache, place it back into the microwave for 5-10 seconds, mix again and that should do the trick.


Once your cheesecake bars are all set you can store them in the fridge for about 5 days in an airtight container. If you plan to bring them anywhere, I recommend freezing them first so that they don’t get too soft in transit. You can also store them in the freezer and enjoy any time. I think they taste great just out of the freezer, but I usually give them about 10 minutes at room temperature before enjoying.


Carb and serving info:

Carbs per serving (1 of 16): 31

Carbs per serving (1 of 18): 28

Carbs for full recipe: 499


Carbs from chocolate: 108

Carbs from Oreos: 200

Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes

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