Indulge in the holiday spirit with these Christmas Cheesecake Bars, a delightful blend of sugar cookie crust, creamy cheesecake, luscious cherry filling, and a crunchy almond topping. Perfect for festive gatherings, these bars are a must-try for cheesecake and cherry lovers!
Every holiday season, I’m reminded of my grandmother’s kitchen, filled with the sweet aroma of baked goodies. Among her famous treats were the Christmas Cheesecake Bars. She’d laugh, calling them “slutty cheesecake bars” for their irresistible appeal, as they were always the first dessert to vanish at family gatherings. Baking these bars now feels like a warm hug from her, bringing back cherished memories of Christmas celebrations filled with love, laughter, and the sweetest of traditions.
Why Christmas Cheesecake Bars Stand Out?
- Festive Flair: These bars perfectly capture the essence of Christmas with their vibrant cherry topping.
- Cookie Crumble Twist: The sugar cookie base adds a unique, delightful texture, making these cheesecake bars stand out.
- Easy yet Impressive: Simple to make but visually stunning, they’re perfect for holiday parties and gifts.
- Customizable: Easily adaptable with different toppings or crusts to suit everyone’s taste.
- Comforting Classic: Combining cheesecake and cherries, these bars are a nostalgic nod to traditional holiday flavors.
Essential Tips for Christmas Cheesecake Bars Ingredients
These Christmas Cheesecake Bars are a festive treat that combines the rich taste of cheesecake with the sweet tang of cherry pie filling, all resting on a buttery sugar cookie crust. The toasted sliced almonds add a delightful crunch, bringing a nutty contrast to the creamy and fruity layers. Remember, using quality cream cheese and real butter makes a significant difference in flavor. Also, the cherry pie filling can be substituted with other flavors to suit your taste, making these bars versatile for any occasion.
Step-by-Step Guide to Christmas Cheesecake Bars
These Christmas Cheesecake Bars are a blend of creamy, fruity, and crunchy textures, creating a perfect holiday dessert.
- Preparation: Start by preheating your oven and lining your pan. This ensures a non-stick surface and even baking.
- Crust Making: Combining the cookie mix with cold butter creates a crumbly base. Reserve some for the topping.
- Baking the Crust: A short bake firms up the crust, setting the stage for the creamy filling.
- Cheesecake Layer: Mixing cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, and egg until smooth creates a rich and creamy layer.
- Adding Cherry Topping: The cherry pie filling adds a sweet and tart layer, perfect for the holidays.
- Final Touch with Topping: The reserved cookie crumble and almonds create a delightful crunch and visual appeal.
- Final Bake: This step ensures that all the layers meld together beautifully.
- Cooling and Chilling: Essential for setting the bars and enhancing their flavor.
These Christmas Cheesecake Bars are as practical as they are delicious! Once cooled, store them in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Just wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then foil. To serve, simply thaw them in the fridge overnight. Perfect for making ahead of time for those busy holiday gatherings!
Variations and Substitutions
- Crust Variations: Swap the sugar cookie mix with graham cracker crumbs or crushed gingerbread for a different flavor.
- Filling Flavors: Experiment with different extracts like almond or lemon in the cheesecake mixture for a twist.
- Fruit Topping Choices: Not a cherry fan? Try blueberry, raspberry, or even a mixed berry pie filling.
- Nut Options: Replace almonds with chopped pecans or walnuts for a different crunch.
- Dietary Adjustments: Use gluten-free cookie mix and almond flour to cater to gluten sensitivities.
Christmas Cheesecake Bars
- Sugar Cookie Mix: 8.5 ounces
- Unsalted Butter Cold: 4 tablespoons
- Cream Cheese Softened: 8 ounces
- Granulated Sugar: ¼ cup
- All-Purpose Flour: 1 tablespoon
- Vanilla Extract: ½ teaspoon
- Egg: 1 large
- Cherry Pie Filling: ½ can
- Toasted Sliced Almonds: 1/3 cup
- Preparation of Baking Environment: Begin by preheating the oven to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Proceed to line an 8×8 inch or 9×13 inch baking pan with foil, ensuring complete coverage. Apply a coat of non-stick spray to the foil-lined pan.
- Crust Formation: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar cookie mix with the cold unsalted butter. Employ a pastry blender to effectively integrate the butter into the cookie mix until the mixture achieves a crumbly consistency. Reserve approximately ¾ cup of this crumbly mixture for later use. Press the remaining mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake this crust for 10 minutes and then allow it to cool. Note that the crust will be partially baked at this stage and may seem underdone.
- Cheesecake Mixture Preparation: While the crust is cooling, begin preparing the cheesecake layer. In a separate large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese with granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, and one egg. Mix these ingredients thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and creamy in texture.
- Layering: Once the crust has cooled, evenly spread the cream cheese mixture over it. Then, carefully spoon the cherry pie filling onto the cream cheese layer, ensuring it is evenly distributed to cover the surface.
- Topping Creation: In a small bowl, mix the reserved crumbly cookie mixture with the toasted sliced almonds. Sprinkle this combined mixture evenly over the cherry layer.
- Final Baking: Place the pan back into the oven and bake for 40 minutes if using an 8×8 pan, or approximately 45 minutes if using a 9×13 pan. The indication of doneness is a light golden brown color on the top.
- Cooling and Storage: After baking, allow the bars to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Following this, refrigerate the bars for a few hours to ensure they are thoroughly chilled. For storage, keep the bars covered in the refrigerator.