When it comes to dessert I rarely make a recipe twice. We make our favorite chocolate chip cookies and normal old rice crispy treats over and over again, and if I make something else it is generally a new recipe. I saw these gorgeous red velvet cheese cake bars on Novice Chef last year and never made them, but I’ve thought of them often. I’m not a big red velvet fan, but they are just so pretty. So last week when we had my father-in-law, BFF Shaun, neighbor, and his nephew over working on the house plus two missionaries from our church over I thought it would be a good time to try out the recipe. It makes a big pan and good or not, they’d get eaten with that many men around.
Let me tell you, they were eaten. And raved about, and snacked on, and then gone. The whole pan gone. You guys, this is one of the best recipes I’ve made in a long long time. The bars are dense and soft but still completely sturdy (perfect for cookie cutters) and they were just so good. Plus, they are beautiful. Shaun told me they were the best thing he’s eaten this year. Now, it was the first week of January and so I teased him about teasing me, and he said he meant 2012 too. And honestly, I made a second whole pan this week just for us. They are so very good. Put these on your list to make for Valentine’s treats because that red is just perfect.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars
Makes 12 large hearts
Recipe from The Novice Chef
Red Velvet Layer:
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons milk, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease with butter or cooking spray a 13×18 jelly roll pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine. In a small bowl add the eggs, oil, 2 tablespoons of milk, vanilla, food coloring, and white vinegar. Whisk the wet ingredient to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient and pour the wet ingredients into the center. Mix until well combine or with the cookie paddle attached, mix on medium-low speed until well combined. The batter will be very thick.
Remove about 3/4 of a cup of the batter and put it in a small bowl (or the bowl the wet ingredients just came out of) and set aside. Spread the rest of the batter in the bottom of the jelly roll pan.
To make the cheesecake layer combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat another minute until well combined. Spread the cheesecake layer evenly on top of the red velvet layer in the pan.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk to the batter that you saved in the small bowl. Use a fork to whisk and combine it well. Drop the now thinned batter by small spoonfuls over the cheesecake layer and then use a toothpick to marble the cheesecake and thinned batter together. You just pull the toothpick across the top of the dessert with a bit of a swirling motion. Do this until it is marbled as much as you like.
You can make little hearts on top! Do this by adding the thinned batter to a pastry bag with a small circle tip or in a ziplock bag (and you’ll cut off a little tip of the corner). Drop the icing in small circles onto the top of the cheesecake layer. You have to work kind of fast because the batter is thin enough that it just drips out of the bag if you aren’t moving pretty quick. Leave a little space in between the circles and it’ll be easier to make the hearts if the circles are in a line. The size of the dots ranged from dime-sized to about half that. Pull the end of a toothpick from the top of the circle to the bottom to make a heart. The hearts will look best if you don’t pick up the toothpick in between circles, just drag down the line.
Bake the bars for 28-30 minutes, rotating the pan half way through baking. Let the bars cool in the pan for 20 minutes before cutting. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Notes: You don’t have to cut it into hearts. It would make a lot of cute little squares.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars need to make a appearance on your table soon, and lucky for you, Valentine’s is the perfect excuse to whip a batch of these up! Mmm. Now if only I had some now. One bad thing about blogging is by the time the pictures are edit, the post written and up, the treat is normally long gone and it just makes you crave them all over again.
Keep Calm and Cheesecake On, Melissa