I know it's just the beginning of August - and there are lots of people who are still soaking in the love of summer for another month - but around here, we're already two weeks into our home school schedule.
We're attempting a new routine - one that I started last year but was completely disrupted by our move; six weeks on, one week off year round - with an extra ten weeks to take off whenever we want. I'm sure a chunk of those will regularly be taken in the summer, plus we'll have extra time off in December and whenever grandparents come to visit. We'll see how it goes.
A couple of weeks ago, the leaders of our church hosted a dinner for the families who were new to the congregation in the past several months. We were asked to bring a dessert (you know they had to twist my arm on that one) and I decided to make this variation on these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Squares. That's my second most popular blog post of all time - and well deservedly so - but I always like to try new things.
The recipe that inspired me was made in a 8x8" square pan. Now, I know for some people, that's a reasonable amount of dessert to have around, but when you have a family of 7 and might like a dessert to last more than one meal, that's just not gonna cut it. Not to mention that we were taking it to a potluck.
So double it I did.
Okay, I have a confession to make. Any time a recipe calls for an amount of cream cheese that doesn't use up the whole block, I adjust the recipe to use it all - unless I already have a purpose for the remainder. I just can't stand leaving 4 ounces of cream cheese in the fridge, knowing that I'll never have a recipe that uses so little or I'll forget all about it and end up throwing it away in 3 months. (cause that's about how often I clean out my fridge. I know. Ick. But it's my least favorite chore.)
Sooooo.....I not only doubled the recipe but increased the cheesecake layer so I avoid having the icky cream cheese in the fridge. The result was that my cheesecake layer was a little taller than the original and took a bit longer to bake - which in turn meant that the cookie layer on top got slightly brown. I was worried about that at first, but you know what? It still tasted fabulously delicious.
The proof was that people kept asking "Who made these bars??" with glowing eyes and blissfully happy smiles on their faces at the fellowship meal - and my family couldn't get enough of them. I'm afraid my kids might have taken more than their share. And the small pan that I saved at home and took to my parents the next night were equally as well received - my dad and brother LOVED them.
Oh, and another nice thing about making a huge pan - although I didn't have the chance to freeze any, I know they'd freeze perfectly and you could have little cheesecake bites just waiting for you any time the chocolate urge hits.
Or you have surprise company.
Or an accomplishment to celebrate.
Or you just like cheesecake with cookie dough. Like me. :)
Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cheesecake Bites
Adapted from Baby Gizmo
3 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (about 27 cookies)
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter, melted (I used salted)
10 Tbsp. salted butter, partially melted
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 13 x 9" pan with foil or parchment paper allowing a little overhang.
Mix the melted butter and cookie crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. I use a metal measuring cup to press the mixture in well. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack.
While the crust is baking, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the flour just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla on low speed just until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix gently. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust.
Flatten clumps of cookie dough in your palms and distribute onto the top of the cheesecake batter. Get it as evenly spread out as possible.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cookie dough feels dry and firm and the entire pan looks set. If it's really jiggly, give it a few more minutes. If the cookie dough starts to brown too much, you can cover the top of the pan with foil.
Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before cutting. Remove from pan using the foil overhang and cut into desired size squares. Keep refrigerated until serving.
Bars can be frozen also - just allow to thaw before serving.