Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

 

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A sweet graham cracker crust is piled with a generous layer of tangy cheesecake filling studded with peanut butter cups and then topped with a rich, smooth river of chocolate ganache–with yet another peanut butter cup on top!

This recipe makes me weak in the knees. 

Let’s analyze the title to figure out why:

One, I mean, peanut butter cup–that much is a given. Chocolate + peanut butter = *magic*

Two…cheesecake. Please. Just…cheesecake. Of course. 😉

And three–it’s in bar-form. This may not seem like much, but putting cheesecake into bar form is like taking a shortcut. No spring-form pan, no having to worry about cracks in your precious cheesecake, yada yada yada. The beauty is in the simplicity.

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And then there’s the parts not mentioned in the title that make these bars so deadly…

Ahem? Did I hear graham cracker crust? Yes, please! Nothing really beats the crumbly, crackery texture and sweet, buttery flavor this adds to the bars.

And then–chocolate ganache? Goodness. I feel so posh saying that I made chocolate ganache. Look at me, I made chocolate ganache. Like that’s the next level up in baking. 😀 Plus, I licked that spatula clean. Chocolate chips…and butter…and cream…and more…how have I not made this before? 😉

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This is my new favorite picture, by the way. 😀

Making these bars was a two-day process, so those who struggle with patience may find it a tad bit hard to wait a whole entire night for these to chill. They took a relatively short amount of time to put together with nothing more extravagant than heavy cream, so, you know, you win some, you lose some. 🙂

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These are pretty darn simple to make for the wow result you get. First, you have to take a packet of graham crackers and pulverize it into little crumbs. I did this with a plastic baggie and the heel of my hand, but that hurt, so I wouldn’t recommend it! You could use a bag and a rolling pin, or a food processor. Whichever’s easiest for you!

You’ll then combine it with some melted butter and some granulated sugar. It took all of the willpower in me not to eat it all with a spoon. It just smells divine. 😉

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After you press that mixture into a greased 8×8″ pan, you’ll pop it in the oven for oh, ten minutes or so. While that’s baking, you can cut up the peanut butter cups that will be mixed into the cheesecake batter. Again, it took immense amounts of willpower to not eat all of them (although quite a few went missing…funny, huh? 😉 )

Once the graham cracker crust is done baking, you’ll want to let it cool, so once it’s set aside, it’s time to mix up the cheesecake batter! 😀

Cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, flour, vanilla, and eggs are beat together (at different times) using a stand mixer. The sliced peanut butter cups are folded in last (ever heard the expression about “saving the best for last”?).

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You will then proceed to spread the beautiful cheesecake batter all over the now-cooled graham cracker crust. Once again, this will go in the oven, but this time for the agonizingly long time of 40 minutes. While these are baking, you’ll want to use the time to clean up any messes, wipe down countertops, make random stop-motion videos on your phone…etcetera, etcetera. 😀 The possibilities are endless.

A note: Don’t overbake the cheesecake (hey, it rhymes!). If you do, it will start to get some funky-lookin’ cracks while it cools and won’t be nice. A cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the middle is firm but wobbly.

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Once your cheesecake is done, set it aside to cool–and then you can start making your ganache. Heavy cream and butter are melted in a saucepan and poured over chocolate chips just before the cream & butter start to boil. Once that’s all nice and smooth, two tablespoons of powdered sugar and added into the mix.

And voilapure deliciousness. 

The chocolate melts in your mouth. <3

Once you’ve finished that, you can slice ten more peanut butter cups in half. 😀

Once the cheesecake is cooled c o m p l e t e l y, you’ll pour this beautifulness all over the top, and then arrange the sliced peanut butter cups in rows. With the cut side down, it looks cool if you alternate which way each is facing (i.e. up or down).

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And then you’ll stick it in the fridge…

And wait. 

Let it chill for a good twelve hours (overnight) before slicing & serving. 🙁 I know, I know… 😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

For the crust:

  • 1 packet (8 sheets) graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. salted butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg & 1 yolk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 24 peanut butter cups, chopped

For the ganache:

  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 10 peanut butter cups, sliced in half
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside.
  2. Take the graham crackers and break them into small crumbs using a plastic bag and rolling pin or a food processor. Combine with the sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the graham cracker mixture until even and press into greased pan. Pat down using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup until flat.
  4. Bake the graham cracker crust for 10 minutes.
  5. While the crust is baking, begin the filling. Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour on medium-high speed until smooth.
  6. On a lower speed, add in the egg and egg yolk and mix until combined. Next, add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until even. Slowly fold in the peanut butter cup pieces.
  7. Once the crust has cooled, pour the cream cheese filling on top and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until edges are set and the middle is wobbly but firm.
  8. While the cheesecake is cooling, put together the chocolate ganache. Measure out the chocolate chips in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and cream until just boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and wait a moment before stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  10. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, pour on the ganache, smoothing with a rubber spatula. Press on the sliced peanut butter cups, cut-side down, in rows.
  11. Place the cheesecake in the fridge and cool for at least 12 hours (overnight) before slicing & serving.
  12. Enjoy!

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Original recipe here.

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