Of course, I’ve always wanted to figure out a way to combine those flavor combinations into something a little bit more sophisticated, but still fun to eat. These cheesecake bars ended up being the perfect balance of whimsical fun and sophistication. I think even my Asian family would appreciate them.
The Bee’s Knees peanut butter and Gorgeous Grape Jelly infuse these honey sweetened cheesecake bars, making them a nostalgic treat with a twist. The best thing about them is that the handheld bar makes them a little more casual than a full sized slice of cheesecake, suitable for any time you want a little something sweet. If grape jelly isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute Seriously Strawberry Jam, or Rip-Roaring Raspberry Preserves instead, though you may not be able to get the same pattern as the jelly. Just follow the instructions, and instead of drizzling the jam/preserves in a zigzag pattern, just spoon dollops all over the cheesecake batter and swirl it randomly with a knife.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Yield: 16 bars
For the Graham cracker crust
9 ounces of graham crackers (about 11-14 crackers)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake batter
20 ounces (2 1/2 bricks) cream cheese
3/4 cup The Bee’s Knees peanut butter
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Peanut Butter & Co. Gorgeous Grape Jelly
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper that hangs an inch or two over the sides. The cooking spray will anchor the parchment paper.
2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and process until they are crumbs. Add the brown sugar and pulse a few more times to incorporate. Then, while the processor is turned on, drizzle the melted butter into the processor through the feed tube. Process until the crumbs start to clump.
3. Pour the crumbs into the baking pan and spread and press them out with your hands until you have an even flat layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until the crust smells fragrant. Pull the pan out of the oven, but maintain the heat on the oven. Let the crust cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
4. Place cream cheese, The Bee’s Knees peanut butter and flour in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream everything together on medium speed until blended and fluffy. Add the honey and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
5. Pour the batter into the cooled crust, being careful not to disturb the crust. Smooth the top of the batter out evenly. In a glass measuring cup with a spout, mix the grape jelly with the cornstarch until and the cornstarch is incorporated and the jelly is liquefied. Pour the grape jelly in a zigzag pattern on top of the cream cheese batter. Using a butter knife, draw a line back and forth over the jelly, creating a fancy pant pattern. Try not to dig the knife too deep into the cream cheese batter.
6. Bake the bars in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cheesecake batter wiggles just a tiny bit in the middle of the pan. Let it cool completely in the pan to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. To cut and serve, grab the parchment paper by its sides and lift the entire cheesecake out of the pan and move it directly to a cutting board to cut.
Besides Irvin’s delicious PB&J cheesecake bars, what other treats would you come up with using the PB&J combo? Leave a comment below and on Monday, July 9, 2012 we’ll choose a random commenter to win a 16oz jar of The Bee’s Knees, the peanut butter used in this recipe! US residents only.
The random winner is Carolsue.