Raise your hand if you love cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies! Then these cookie dough cheesecake bars are a dream come true for you. With a buttery graham cracker crust, a layer of dreamy, creamy cheesecake, and chocolate chip cookie dough baked right into the top, you’ll totally flip over this dessert!
Sometimes I sit and ponder delicious baked goods to make for the blog and jot them into the notes app on my phone. And sometimes I think my ideas are utterly genius – well, momentarily genius, that is.
As soon as I google my brilliant idea, I usually find that someone else had the same amazing idea long before I did.
That was the exact scenario with these chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars. It’s no wonder someone came up with this deliciousness before me!
I mean, can you think of a more amazing combination than the love child of cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies? I think not!
OK, well maybe these chocolate chip cookie dough mini cheesecakes rank up right up there, too. But there’s just something so homey about cheesecake bars, isn’t there?
Now granted, I’ve made plenty of different kinds of cheesecake before. What can I say? I’m a big fan! But these cheesecake bars are something special and they’re definitely different from any of the other cookie bar recipes you’ll find out there.
The buttery graham cracker crust is the perfect foundation for layers of creamy cheesecake and chewy chocolate chip
cookie dough. How could you NOT fall in love with a dessert bar like this one??
Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bar Ingredients
As you can see from the layers of flavor in these bars, there’s a lot going on here.
Working from the bottom up, we’ve graham cracker crumbs and melted butter for the crust. This is a slight variation to a classic graham cracker crust since this one doesn’t have any added sugar in it. It’s a simple piece of this cheesecake bar puzzle to throw together and it makes these bars a close relative to a full-size cheesecake.
I say this because some of the other recipes for cookie dough cheesecake bars you see out there have a base layer of cookie dough. While I’m sure that’s amazing – I mean, it’s cookie dough! – it doesn’t scream “cheesecake bar” to me, ya know?
Moving on, the middle layer is allll about the cheesecake. And I’ve made a classic one here with cream cheese, sugar, an egg, and vanilla. It’s a lot like my vanilla cheesecake in fact, but there’s no heavy cream in this filling.
For the cookie dough layer on top, I made my own cookie dough to marry with this cheesecake batter. Yes, there are recipes out there for bars like these that use pre-made cookie dough.
And I promise I won’t judge you if you go that route for these bars. But if you’ve been around MBA for long enough, you’ll know that I know my way around a cookie. I would never steer you wrong on a cookie dough recipe! So make your own – it’s easy enough!
How to Make these Cheesecake Bars from Scratch
Although this is a multi-step recipe, it’s simple to prep and it’s pretty much the perfect comfort food. Here’s how you make these cheesecake bars from scratch:
- Prepare the graham cracker crust and press it into an 8×8-inch greased pan that’s been lined with parchment paper or foil.
- Bake the crust in a preheated 325 F oven and then let it cool.
- Next, prepare the cookie dough by beating the wet ingredients together in a stand mixer and then stirring in the dry ingredients, followed by the chocolate chips. If you don’t have 2 mixer bowls, dump the cookie dough into another large bowl and wash out the mixer bowl.
- Make the cheesecake filling next using the stand mixer. For this you’ll cream the softened cream cheese with the sugar and then mix in the egg and vanilla.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and then lay the cookie dough in small pieces over the top of the batter.
- And then, bake!
When I first pulled these out of the oven, I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed that the cheesecake layer wasn’t taller because as you all know, I love me some cheesecake. But after tasting the bars, I think the ratio is perfect.
I tell ya, it’s a good thing this recipe only makes an 8×8-inch pan or otherwise your waistline could be in for some serious expansion!
Do Cheesecake Bars Need a Water Bath?
Cheesecake bars do not need a water bath! Yay!!
I pretty much use a water bath whenever I make a full-size cheesecake, but there’s no need to use one when you make cheesecake bars. The reason is that the cheesecake layer is so much thinner in the bars that it will cook quicker and more evenly than the filling in a full-size cheesecake, even without a water bath.
How Do You Know When These Cheesecake Bars are Done?
You’ll know when these bars are done when the cookie dough layer is firm to the touch and golden brown. It will look just like baked cookies!
And when you jiggle the pan, the center of the bars should be set without much movement at all.
How To Cut Cheesecake Bars into Neat Squares
The age old trick for cutting cheesecake into neat slices is to use a hot, sharp knife.
Now, because the cheesecake layer in these bars isn’t extremely thick, you shouldn’t have any trouble cutting through it neatly but you’ll definitely need a sharp knife to cut through the top cookie layer.
Before you cut the fully cooled bars, be sure to pull them out of the pan and place them on a cutting board. Then, using a long, sharp knife or a stainless steel dough scraper (this works great!), cut firmly down from the top of the bars to the bottom in a swift motion.
Try not to saw through the bars because that will pull at the cheesecake and cookie layers, making sloppy squares.
Depending on how many servings you want, you can easily cut these bars into 12 medium size or 16 smaller squares.
How Long Do These Cheesecake Bars Last?
Assuming there are any bars left after you serve them, you’ll want to keep the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container or on a plate that is tightly wrapped with plastic wrap.
In the fridge, the bars will last about 2 days. After 2 days, the crust will start to soften a bit.
Tips for Making Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
- Don’t skip lining the pan with a piece of parchment paper or foil. The liner will help you pull the slab of bars out of the pan, which is needed in order to cut them neatly.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. This will help them to mix properly into the various parts of the recipe.
- Grab a 1-cup measuring cup for the crust layer. Use the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup or a wide glass to press the graham cracker crumbs into the pan. This trick will make this step much faster and neater than trying to press the crumbs with your fingers.
- Take your time adding the cookie dough layer. Flatten clumps of the dough with your hands and then lay the pieces gently onto top of the cheesecake filling. You won’t be able to spread the cookie dough on top. And dropping pieces of it into the filling will just make a big mess. Take your time here.
So there you have it! These cookie dough cheesecake bars are downright phenomenal and they’re totally worth the little bit of effort they take to make.
Serve these cheesecake bars up with a glass of ice cold milk and like magic, everything will seem a little bit better! Okay, so I can’t really guarantee these will brighten your mood, but trust me – if there’s a food that can, it’s these chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars.
And if you’ve got cheesecake bar recipes on the mind (you’re not alone!), I think you might also really love these cookie dough cheesecake s’mores, these oatmeal chocolate chip cheesecake bars, and these maple streusel cheesecake bars.
Don’t make me choose which one I like best!
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cookie dough:
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips
For the cheesecake filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Do not turn your oven off.
- While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Using your hand to form clumps. Flatten the clumps of dough in your palms to flatten them out a bit. Distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter. Be sure to use all of the dough. You will cover most of the cheesecake batter.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Lift the bars out by the overhang; slice into desired size and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1 bar
Amount Per Serving Calories 452Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 93mgSodium 156mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 1gSugar 23gProtein 4g