Austrian Cream Cheese Bars
Thinking of desserts with universal appeal, Cheesecake hovers right at the top of the list. Almost everyone I know likes cheesecake in one form or another.
Cheesecake also rates high on the list of desserts I like to make. While cheesecake recipes often seem quite long and potentially complicated, in reality a good cheesecake is fairly simple to make if you have a good recipe and plenty of time for baking, chilling and adding the finishing touches. Sine most cheesecakes are quite large and are truly crowd pleasers the time invested usually seems worth it to me.
There are times, however, when making a cheesecake, no matter how perfectly it may please, just isn’t an option. There are times when a full blown cheesecake is just too much dessert and takes too much time to prepare. That’s when Austrian Cheesecake Bars shine.
When I need a quick fix of delicious cheesecake flavor without the huge cheesecake presentation these bars are a great compromise. They are packed with all of the delicious elements of cheesecake appeal: crumb crust, creamy chocolate chip studded cheese filling, a luscious layer of chocolate on top and a scattering of roasted walnuts, not to mention a pinch of cinnamon just to keep things interesting. All of that goodness is packed into a bar that goes together fairly quickly, with a minimum of ingredients. It is easily transported as well.
The origins of the recipe are a bit fuzzy. It was clipped from a newspaper many years ago and has been copied and recopied since then. The bars themselves are a family favorite and a recipe that I have turned to again and again over the years. They never fail to earn compliments and are something I truly enjoy eating myself as well as sharing with others.
Austrian Cream Cheese Bars
1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour (divided use)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (divided use)
½ to ¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Beat at medium speed about 2 minutes or until crumbly and well blended. Press mixture into an ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Bake for 12 minutes; remove from oven.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and eggs at medium speed until smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the partially baked crust. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is almost set.
Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle the remaining cup of chocolate chips over top. Return to oven for 1 minute to melt chips.
Remove from oven. Gently spread melted chips over top. Sprinkle with nuts, lightly pressing them into the chocolate.
Refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 36 bars.
Note: Watch your time and be sure to cut into bars as directed, before cooling completely. The crust becomes quite firm and is difficult to cut through when fully chilled.
Serve and enjoy!