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Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars
Prepare and bake these squares in less than an hour. A Valentines Day special to day the least. A crunchy chocolate biscuit base with a dense red velvet brownie that’s been swirled with a luscious vanilla scented cheesecake.
I mean there is no rule book stating that this cheesecake must be made for Valentines day but since the occasion calls for everything red velvet, chocolate and love these squares are perfect for your near and dear ones. Usually making a cheesecake is all about water baths and folding with care etc. but not these bars. The recipe is super easy and is so fuss what so ever. You do not need to pre bake the base and worry about the cheesecake cracking as its is a cross between a brownies and a cheesecake. Also, if you are still in the mood to make a simple cheesecake check out the Basque Cheesecake For 1 recipe write up. This recipe is a generous portion but believe me they are gone in minutes. But making this recipe is great way to show your loved ones that they are special so share it around.
Let us talk about the recipe real quick, it is broken up into 3 parts; Chocolate Biscuit Base, Red Velvet Brownie & Vanilla Cheesecake Swirl. These bars start like any other cheesecake recipe – a biscuit base. In this case a bourbon chocolate biscuit base, any biscuit base works but I wanted to enhance the chocolate flavor and it works like a charm. I do use a little more butter than usual cause I like my base to have a nice crunch and not crumble once cut. The brownie batter is a red velvet brownie batter which is rich yet Cakey in the best possible way. The texture works well with the biscuit base but what turns this recipe around is the cheesecake swirl. It is smooth and luxurious.
These bars are addictive but in saying this they are rich as they are filled with butter, sugar and cream cheese as well. If you would like to get more indulgent you can place pieces of dark chocolate on the base before adding the red velvet brownie batter. The bars can be packed up in little brown bags and ribbon, gifted to anyone you would fancy. Making the cheesecake filling is the best part of these bars if you ask me so don’t skimp on the quality. Using good cream cheese here is the only option, there are no substitutes – hence I wouldn’t say this could be made vegan at any point.
There are a few options in the ingredients here, the flour can switched with gluten free flour, don’t use almond powder as it won’t have the desired texture. The butter in the biscuit base can be swapped for oil and it works fine, just ensure to use a flavorless oil while the butter in the brownie base can be swapped for vegan butter. I’ve used castor sugar in the brownie and cheesecake base mixes however you could use soft light brown sugar or granulated white sugar. The cocoa powder is essential for a red velvet so even though there is a little amount it is essential in the recipe. Ive used vanilla extract in the cheesecake batter mix, you want to use the best.
A couple of points on the eggs and the food color for the red velvet. You can replace the eggs with flax seed eggs (1 flax seed egg = 1 tbsp flaxseed powder mixed into 3 tbsp water) or yogurt (in this case one egg = 35gm hence the yogurt would be weighed out accordingly. I like using red food coloring gel as it is concentrated you will need a little amount, if you are using a food liquid color you will need a bigger amount. I would not recommend using food powder colors here as once the brownies are baked they will loose some color. I would recommend while making this recipe to use an electric hand beater or stand mixer but you could use a wooden spoon to mixed the brownie batter together. However it does need to be mixed well but the key to this recipe is not over mixing. If you over mix the recipe the brownie will rise and as it cools down it will collapse and crack. This also happens if the brownie has been over baked or baked at a very high temperature.
Now let us talk about the baking tin, which makes this recipe so easy to make and hassle free is the tin. There is no lining of baking paper or butter and flour. It is all layered into the tin and baked together, it is cut into squares in the tin itself and comes out easily once chilled. You don’t need to let it cool down outside the pan, let it cool in the tin itself. I have used the Simply Chef baking pan to make this recipe. It is essential to let it chill for a few minutes before cutting. I like popping it into the freezer as this will help cut into squares easier. Pro tip on cutting the cheesecake with clean edges is to dip the knife in hot water and wipe clean before every slice, it does require effort but it is definitely worth it, especially if you are gifting the squares to others.
Once the bars are cut and ready to eat serve them with some milk, tea, coffee or even white wine. They last well in the fridge for 4 days and for 14 days in the freezer. I wouldn’t recommend freezing them longer as they do loose their rich texture. Enough talk and let us now get into the kitchen. Happy Baking!
Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars
- 3 Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer
- Baking tin 9x7 inches
- 200 gm Chocolate biscuits
- 40 gm Butter melted
Red Velvet Brownie
- 100 gm Butter soft
- 190 gm Castor sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp Red Food Color Gel
- 30 gm Cocoa powder
- 80 gm Flour
- 1 tbsp Vinegar
- Pinch of Salt
- 250 gm Cream cheese
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
- 60 gm Castor sugar
- Preheat the oven to180ºC. I’ve used a rectangle baking tin to make these, check out the equipment section for more information.
- In a blender add the chocolate biscuits and blend until fine. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and stir to combine, the mixture should resemble wet sand. Dump into the baking tin and flatten the crumb mixture evenly using your hands or the back of a spoon. Ensure it covers the tin in one single layer.
- In a stand mixer let us make the brownie batter, add the butter, sugar and beat well until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat again until well incorporated. Add the food coloring and beat again until evenly distributed.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, vinegar and stir until combined and no dry ingredients are visible. Pour 3/4 of the batter into the baking tin and set aside.
- In another mixing bowl add all the ingredients for the cheesecake and beat until combined, do not over mix. Dollop the batter into the baking tin and top with the remaining red velvet batter.
- Using a knife, tooth pick or spatula make swirls in the brownie and don’t over do it at this stage. Place into the oven and bake for 28-30 mins until the sides are set and the center is dry on the top but still has a giggle.
- Let it cool in the pan before cutting into squares and serving.
- If your dry ingredients have lumps, sieve them together.
- The vinegar can be swapped for lemon juice in this recipe.
- You can cut the squares smaller and get 24 pieces instead.
- The cream cheese must be at room temperature in order for the cheesecake batter to be smooth.
- Butter must be soft in order for it to be mixed into the brownie batter well.
- If you do not want to make these red velvet, remove the food color and you’ve got chocolate brownie cheesecake bars.