Lately, I've been really starting to get in touch with my creative side when it comes to baking. Where I once used to be afraid to change anything in a recipe, I now think of all the ways I could put my own twist on it. I am even starting to create my own recipes thanks to a little nudge from Mystery Dish. I gotta say, I love this side of me! It has sparked a continuous flow of creative juices, so much so that I now have to stop and write my ideas down because they literally pop up anywhere, at any time. It's been great.
The idea for these bars came to me a while back when I made these red and white velvet cookies. The first time I attempted the cookies, they came out crispy instead of chewy. Crispy like graham-crackers. Crispy like they should be ground up and used like a graham cracker crust...with a white chocolate cheesecake. Because what complements red velvet better than white chocolate and cheesecake, right?
So, the idea seemed brilliant at first but on second thought, it sounded like a lot of work. To make the cookie dough, bake the cookies, grind them up, and make the crust would just waste time. And anybody with a sweet tooth will tell you, we don't got time to waste. We want our sweets and we want them now. So, I changed my mind and decided to use my red velvet cookie recipe as the actual crust. Chewy red velvet cookie bottom with a white chocolate cheesecake on top, now that would be a win.
And to ensure that not only would the cheesecake taste amazing but also look as pretty as possible, I rolled out the excess cookie dough and cut it into heart shapes and placed them on top. There. Now, my masterpiece was complete! It was hard to have to cut through it and destroy it all in the end, but stuffing my mouth was equally, if not more satisfying :)
Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake BarsYield: 16 bars
Ingredients:For the cookie base
One 16.5oz box red velvet cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cheesecake filling
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
One 8oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8x8 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together cake mix, oil, milk, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined and a soft dough forms.
Scrape most of the dough out of the bowl and onto the bottom of prepared baking dish. Evenly spread it out and pat it down to form a smooth, uniform layer.
Melt white chocolate chips over a double boiler, or in a microwave. Once they are completely melted and smooth, set aside to cool while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
In a medium sized bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well-blended. Add egg and vanilla and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Add flour and beat for an additional 20 seconds. Then, gradually beat in melted white chocolate.
Evenly spread cheesecake filling over the red velvet cookie dough.
Roll out the remaining cookie dough, cut into shapes, and gently place over cheesecake filling. (Alternatively, you can bake the cookie dough separately into cookies and leave the top of the cheesecake bare.)
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges are set and the center jiggles slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting and serving.
Note: If you prefer a larger cheesecake to cookie ratio, bake in a 13x9inch pan, only doubling the cheesecake recipe.