I think we can nearly unanimously agree that cheesecake is delicious. But I think we can also nearly unanimously agree that making cheesecake can be a lot of work.
The lining of the cheesecake pan. The water bath. The nearly 3 pounds of cream cheese necessary to get those thick, fat slices. Always worth it, but not always possible to fit into our busy schedules.
Cheesecake bars, on the other hand, make cheesecake more accessible, more easy to make, and -woohoo!-more easy to consume.
These Cranberry Walnut Cheesecake Bars are the perfect fall cheesecake that you need in your life.
They’re creamy, luxurious, and flavored with cranberries, orange zest, and a walnut graham cracker crust.
They fit into nearly every type of situation: for hanging out solo and eating a cheesecake bar, for taking to a party, for making for Thanksgiving or Christmas, for baking with your friends. All of it.
One way I like to elevate these bars, besides making them with the delicious flavor combo of cranberry walnut, is to use crème fraîche instead of sour cream.
Using crème fraîche makes these bars extra creamy, and adds a subtle hint of tang that you wouldn’t otherwise get if using just cream cheese. My favorite crème fraîche comes from Vermont Creamery, because it’s mild, creamy and made with fresh cow’s milk.
You could even dollop some crème fraîche on top of these bars to really complete the experience. That would be such a gorgeous presentation!
Anywho. Email your family. Tell them you’re putting these Cranberry Walnut Cheesecake Bars on the roster for Thanskgiving. Then thank me later 🙂
for the cranberry puree
- 6 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- zest of 1/2 orange
for the crust
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 9 tablespoons butter, melted
for the cheesecake
- 16 oz full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Vermont Creamery Crème Fraîche, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Cook cranberry puree by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Use a whisk or spoon to help break down the cranberries.
- Once cooked, place a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl and, using a spatula, squeeze through all of the liquid and dispose of the solids. Let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine the walnuts, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar. Pulse until the mixture resembles a fine sand and the walnuts are completely pulverized. Pour in butter and pulse until it comes together. Press the crust firmly and evenly into the pan.
- Meanwhile in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese over medium-low speed for 1 minute. Do not use a higher speed, or you will incorporate too much air into the batter. Scrape the cream cheese from the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing.
- Add in the crème fraîche, powdered sugar, and vanilla, beating for 30 seconds.
- Add in the eggs, one by one, beating until fully incorporated.
- Pour batter over crust. Drizzle the cranberry puree on top. With a skewer or chopstick, make a swirl pattern.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes. The cheesecake should be slightly puffed, but should not be golden. Jiggly is ok! It will continue to cook as it cools.
- Allow to cool for 1 hour before placing into fridge to cool completely, about 3 hours more. Cut into bars and serve!
This post is sponsored by Vermont Creamery. All text and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who help make Broma possible!