Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Strawberry white chocolate cheesecake bars have a chocolate cookie-like crust and strawberry jam topping and are perfect for Valentine’s Day. With a gluten-free option.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I wanted to make something extra decadent. I’m not one to fuss about Valentine’s Day but I do love an excuse to bake!
I’m guessing I may be in the minority here, but I think white chocolate and berries is one of the most divine combinations ever. I thought about making a white chocolate cheesecake but I’m always in the mood for easy so I went with these strawberry white chocolate cheesecake bars instead.
One thing I don’t understand about the foodie world is why so many people shun white chocolate. I’m thinking that maybe some people just haven’t had good white chocolate before. I’ve tried a lot of grocery store brands that taste like a mix of sugar and chemicals, so that I could understand. If you don’t already have a brand you really like, try Ghiradelli!
One thing you can’t do with this recipe is sub semi-sweet chocolate for the white chocolate. I thought I’d try it out so I could offer an alternative to the white chocolate but that version was totally lacking in the flavor department.
When I first made these bars, I dolloped the jam on top and swirled it into the batter. I’m a terrible swirler so there’s no surprise that my bars came out looking pretty sad, but there was something off about them. The color of the jam just looked unpleasant. I’m guessing raspberry jam wouldn’t have that off color (and I’m 100% sure it would be ridiculously delicious!) but I haven’t tried it myself.
So the next time around, I just spread on a thin layer of jam. I used 3/4 cup and the layer was pretty thin so if you want more of a substantial layer, add 1 cup or even a tad bit more!
If you want to top the bars off with sliced strawberries, only put them on before serving. Depending on how juicy the berries are, they can make the topping a little wet after a while. One fun idea would be to cut the berries in half like I did and then cut out a heart with a knife or a small heart-shaped cookie cutter. Of course I only think of these things as I’m writing up the post. ;)
Not celebrating Valentine’s Day with a crowd? Try these gluten-free lava cakes with a raspberry center. And if you don’t feel like turning on the oven, try this white chocolate raspberry mousse for two!
Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
For the Crust:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or buckwheat flour for a gluten-free version*
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder or Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate, melted
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup seedless strawberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8"x8" pan with a piece of parchment paper. Note that this crust recipe does not work in a regular pie pan - only as bars.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the melted butter until well combined. If you have difficulties incorporating the butter, use your hands. The mixture will be sticky.
- Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, the crust will still be quite soft but will harden a little as it cools. Let cool for at least 15 minutes while preparing the cheesecake.
- Reduce the temperature to 325°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt and melted white chocolate and beat on low until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low after each addition. Do not over mix.
- Pour evenly over the prepared crust and spread the jam evenly over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is tapped.
- Let cool completely, about 2 hours, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.