Sweet, creamy no-bake vanilla cheesecake with a cookie crust and topped with cracked sugar topping is reminiscent of creme brulee, but without any baking required! No-Bake Cheesecake Bars with Cracked Sugar Topping is a dessert you’ll want to make throughout this holiday season.
This post is sponsored by Karo® Corn Syrup. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make My Baking Addiction possible.
Maybe you’ve noticed by now…I have a little obsession with cheesecake recipes.
My family has noticed this about me as well. Even long before I was sharing recipes with you on this site, I was bringing some sort of cheesecake to nearly every family get-together. It didn’t take long for my cheesecakes to become something of a family tradition.
In fact, I think by now my family asks me to bring dessert because they’re craving cheesecake. From classic Vanilla Cheesecake to Key Lime Cheesecake and everything in-between, they know I’m going to have a cheesecake recipe for every season of the year.
So I couldn’t disappoint everyone by not having a new cheesecake recipe to share this holiday season!
NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE BARS
Since the oven is pretty much always in use from mid-November through New Year’s around here, I decided that a no-bake recipe was the way to go this year.
It’s all about multitasking over here. And making sure we can have cheesecake at the end of the day.
To make these No-Bake Cheesecake Bars extra luscious for the holidays, I used a bit of Karo® Corn Syrup in all three parts of the recipe: the crust, filling, and topping.
Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust, I decided to use a gingersnap cookie crust. The gingersnaps add a rich flavor, and a touch of Karo® Corn Syrup helps bind the crust together, which is especially important since we won’t be baking the crust.
For the filling, a combination of powdered sugar and Karo® Corn Syrup sweetens the cheesecake without leaving a gritty texture. By using this combo, we’ll be sure to have a silky-smooth filling.
In my opinion, cheesecake has to have a perfectly sweet and perfectly smooth filling, and these No-Bake Cheesecake Bars absolutely meet both of those requirements.
WHAT IS CRACKED SUGAR TOPPING?
But what really makes these cheesecake bars stand out from the crowd is the cracked sugar topping.
This topping is magical stuff, you guys.
We’re essentially going to make a caramel that we then break into pieces for the top of the cheesecake. The cracked sugar topping itself tastes like the top of a creme brulee.
When it’s added to the top of the bars, they taste just like a creme brulee cheesecake.
Caramel can be kind of anxiety-inducing to make, which is why I used Karo® Corn Syrup here as well. Using just a bit of Karo® Corn Syrup helps keep the sugar from crystalizing, making the whole process much less fussy.
Plus, the topping almost sparkles, which is perfect for the holiday season, right??
HOW TO MAKE THESE NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE BARS
Even though the cracked sugar topping and the creme brulee flavor of these No-Bake Cheesecake Bars make them seem like they were hard to make, in reality they’re totally easy.
How easy? To make No-Bake Cheesecake Bars, all you have to do is mix together the crust and press it into a 13×9-inch pan.
Then beat together the filling ingredients and spread the filling evenly over the crust. Cover and chill the cheesecake bars for at least 8 hours.
Before serving, make the cracked sugar topping by cooking the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until golden amber in color.
Pour the sugar topping onto a lined baking sheet and let it cool, then crack with the back of a spoon and add to the top of the cheesecake!
A few tips for making sure these bars come out perfect every time:
- Use parchment paper to make a “sling” across the bottom of the pan. This will help you lift the bars out after they’re chilled and make cutting them so much easier.
- Wait to top the bars with the cracked sugar topping until just before serving. If you plan to serve all of the bars at once, you can add the topping before slicing. Otherwise, I recommend slicing the bars and topping only those you plan to eat right away.
- If you don’t love the flavor of gingersnaps, try using graham cracker crumbs in the crust instead!
No-Bake Cheesecake Bars with Cracked Sugar Topping
For the Crust:
- 12 ounces gingersnap cookies
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons Karo® Light Corn Syrup
For the Filling:
- 24 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup
- 8 ounces whipped topping thawed
For the Topping:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Karo® Light Corn Syrup
- 1 teaspoon water
- Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.
- In a food processor, or a zip top bag, crush the cookies until you have fine crumbs.
- Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and add in the butter and Karo® Light Corn Syrup and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and evenly press into the bottom of the pan to create an even crust layer.
- Place pan into the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling:
- In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth for 2-3 minutes.
- Gradually add in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the Karo® Light Corn Syrup and beat the mixture for an additional 1-2 minutes until it is smooth and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla and mix to incorporate.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped topping until it is fully incorporated into the cheesecake batter.
- Spread the batter evenly over the chilled crust, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Just before serving, prepare the cracked sugar topping by combining the sugar and Karo® Light Corn Syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a golden amber color. Quickly pour the sugar mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment and allow it to cool and harden.
- To serve, crack the topping with the back of a spoon and top cheesecake with pieces of cracked sugar.