Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars

Recipes, Sweet Treats
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When I want dessert, 99.9% of the time, I’ll look to something in the chocolate family. Not today. Today is all about the vanilla bean cheesecake.

Generally, I’m not picky: chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies and chocolate chips straight from the bag all count (although I’m not so proud of the latter).

The other .1% of the time – or when I’m baking for people whose lives don’t revolve around cacao – I like rich, but simple desserts: like these thick and creamy vanilla bean cheesecake bars nestled in a buttery shortbread crust, from Baking Bites.

I made them recently for a party and rather than baking them in a 9×13 pan and slicing them into twenty thin bars, I modified the baking instructions just a bit to accommodate an 8×8 inch baking pan and slicing them into small, square, “bite-sized” pieces.

This was also my first endeavor with the vanilla bean – I was surprised how easy it is to slice them to pack such intense taste with such a small amount of flavoring.


Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Sweet Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 dozen bars
 
Ingredients

  • Crust
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Filling
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup half & half or light cream
  • 2 (8-oz) packages plain cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (8x8 will also work if you like thicker bars).
  2. Begin by making the crust. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.
  3. While the crust bakes, combine sugar, half & half and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time, waiting until each in incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture (or add extract) and add the flour. Pulse until smooth.
  4. Pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (baking time should be reduced slightly if using a 9×13-inch, as the filling will be slightly thinner) and not jiggly.
  5. Cool completely before slicing (don’t be alarmed if the cheesecake appears to deflate somewhat as it cools), or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tell me your favorite non-chocolate dessert!

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Archana
    August 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Maris, thanks so much for this recipe! Making this tomorrow night for a celebration : ) Hope you’re doing well!

    • Reply
      Maris Callahan
      August 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      thank you! great to hear from you too!

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I think it’s always a good idea to give in to your sweet tooth 🙂 I have a big sweet tooth and I love all things chocolate, but there are a few non chocolate desserts I like- peach cobbler and anything with apples and caramel. These bars look great!

  • Reply
    Jude
    March 2, 2009 at 3:00 am

    The texture seems light and fluffy. I think I’m gonna like this 🙂

  • Reply
    Hayley
    February 28, 2009 at 3:00 am

    My family loves anything cheesecake, and I love this version. I love the speckle of vanilla beans. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Chuck
    February 28, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I have to agree with Elra your first commenter.
    Anything Lemon! I love the flavor and the fresh taste of lemons.
    Mind you anything Vanilla is nice too. I think I could smell vanilla out of the bottle all day long lol.

  • Reply
    Stacey Snacks
    February 28, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Maris,
    I would say my fave dessert is an apple cake, it’s so perfect in the fall with freshly picked apples.
    #2 is Sicilian Ricotta cheesecake.
    So many desserts, so little time!

  • Reply
    alexandra
    February 27, 2009 at 3:00 am

    oooh this is tricky. favorite NON-chocolate dessert? NON-CHOCOLATE…yikes. Just kidding. I suppose my favorite on-chocolate dessert is Balzano apple cake. So delicious. Perfect in the fall. These bars look delicious!
    Also, I’ve moved: http://www.alexandracooks.com
    Hoping to get back on track being a good little blogger.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    February 27, 2009 at 3:00 am

    This is only my favorite as of tonight, but I went to Momofuku Milk Bar and got a piece of crack pie, and oh my god does it ever live up to its name. No idea what’s in it but… CRACK!
    Of course, I haven’t had vanilla bean cheesecake bars, so who’s to say… 😉

  • Reply
    Reeni
    February 27, 2009 at 3:00 am

    These look so scrumptious! Vanilla + Cheesecake = heaven. My favorite has to be dulce de leche cheesecake or Caramel Cake.

  • Reply
    cleanveggiex3
    February 27, 2009 at 3:00 am

    oh goodness – cheesecake is my absolute FAVORITE!
    so add some vanilla bean you have just made the best dessert. ever.

  • Reply
    Food Hunter
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    They sound so good. I will be making them soon.

  • Reply
    Nirvana
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    These look sooooooooo delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    thatShortChick
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread…nom nom nom.

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    My favorite non-chocolate dessert is a bowl of grapes. Seriously. But it’s a distant second to almost anything with chocolate. Now I have to consider these vanilla bars, too, which look absolutely scrumptious.

  • Reply
    Shani
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Looks scrumptious. My favorite non-chocolate dessert… hmmm… it’s a toss up between créme brulée and amaretto bread pudding… yum!

  • Reply
    ANG*
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    yummmmmmmmmm. i want these right now.

  • Reply
    lisa (dandysugar)
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Oh, man these look decadent. I love pure vanilla so these are incredibly tempting to me. Bars are so decadent!

  • Reply
    kat
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I love the taste of real vanilla so I bet these are delious

  • Reply
    mandy
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    These look simply divine. I usually prefer chocolate as well, but as of late have been giving up chocolate for other things that I would have never tried. I do enjoy cheesecake with fresh berries.
    (I’ve made the banana muffins with lemon icing twice, everyone loves them!)

  • Reply
    eatsandtreats
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Mine would be apple pie for sure! Or anything peanut buttery.

  • Reply
    VeggieGirl
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Scrumptious!!

  • Reply
    Sophie
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Wow, these vanlila bean cheesecakes look Superb!!!! MMMMM….Can I have 1 or 2 pieces now with my morning coffee? Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Pearl
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    What’s that?
    I hear something.
    Listen more closely.
    Do you hear it, too?
    Oh. I know what they’re saying.
    The angels want me to tell you to send me some of those vanilla cheesecake bars. Because I’m their… tastetester. that’s it.

  • Reply
    Selba
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    This vanilla bean cheesecake bars must be really yummy… My mom just made blueberr cheesecake last week.

  • Reply
    Elra
    February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Maris,
    Compressed fresh yeast is basically fresh yeast. You will find this in the grocery store, in the same section where the butter is. It is a great yeast, it make your bread taste more delicious. A bit more expensive then the regular dry yeast, but it really worth the money.
    Hope this help, and good luck.
    Cheers,
    Elra

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