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White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

January 22, 2016

White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks

Watching The Great British Baking Show during Tea Time on KCTS 9 gets us in the mood for baking. These delicious cranberry-studded gems are just our cup of tea.

Makes 2 dozen, 2-inch bars

Wafer Crust

  • 1 11-ounce package vanilla wafers
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Cranberry-Orange Topping

  • 6 ounces sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice

Cheesecake Layer

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan.

For the crust, in a food processor, process wafers to a uniform crumb. Drizzle in melted butter and continue processing until combined. Press into bottom of prepared pan and bake 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sugar, orange juice and zest. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

While cranberries cook, make the cheesecake. Using a mixer, or by hand, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in white chocolate and vanilla.

Spread the cheesecake mixture over the crust. Pan should still be warm, so watch the heat! Drop cranberry mixture by spoonfuls over the cheesecake, and stir to blend in slightly with a table knife.

Bake 40 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned and center looks set. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Cook’s Note: This is equally scrumptious, maybe even more so (and easier), using semisweet chocolate chips in place of the cranberry mixture. A little sweetened rhubarb would be another great option.

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