The opportunity to bake a sinful treat arose this past week as my client site had a cookout. While I didn’t have to do anything besides contribute $5, I really wanted to make a new treat. Bryan loves when these inspirations hit me! I thought something s’mores related would be a win. I found a number of s’mores bars that I wasn’t all that jazzed about, but then I came across a s’mores bar WITH CHEESECAKE recipe. Thanks to Annie’s Eats, I had some happy co-workers. Thank goodness too because these phenom bars involved the labor of love! This recipe yields about 12-16 bars which was not enough for the crowd I was making them for. Thus, I doubled this recipe. Still, not a big deal until you 1) only have one 8 x 8 pan 2) arrive at the grocery store at 10 pm to gather ingredients and 3) don’t begin making them until 10:30 pm on a Wednesday night. I felt accomplished as I climbed into bed at 1:30 am!
In the spirit of being a balanced bean, I lightened this recipe ever so slightly by using reduced-fat versions of cream cheese and sour cream. Probably did not make a world of difference, but I feel good about that choice and how the taste was not compromised in the slightest
For the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup light sour cream
½ cup marshmallow cream
2 tsp. cocoa powder
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the topping:
1½ cups mini marshmallows
Milk chocolate chips, melted (optional)
To make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with enough foil for the edges of the foil to be easily pulled out (this matters later on!); spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork until well combined.
- Press the mixture in an even layer into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.
To make the filling:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring each time. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Using a standup or hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and marshmallow cream. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 1-2 minutes. Blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and eggs until incorporated. Stir in the melted chocolate until well blended.
- Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake about 30 minutes, or until the center is just set (does not jiggle when shaken gently.) Remove from the oven.
To make the topping:
- Evenly top the cheesecake layer with the mini marshmallows. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, just long enough so the marshmallows begin to melt into each other. Transfer your foil pan to a wire cooling rack.
- Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the tops of the marshmallows. Alternatively, this can be done underneath the broiler with a very watchful eye. I used the broiler for exactly one minute, but I watched it for every one of those 60 seconds!
- Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, drizzle with melted milk chocolate if desired. (TIP: Placing melted chocolate chips in a ziplock bag and cutting a tiny tip of the bottom off creates a great little piping bag for drizzling the chocolate)
- Transfer to the refrigerator and chill 2-3 hours before slicing and serving. This is important because it sets the cheesecake. It will look like this before you begin to slice and serve: