They are very versatile and you can play around with the basic recipe and make many variations - such as adding crushed oreo biscuits or topping with a layer of ganache, adding in some nuts etc.
CHEESE CAKE BARS
For the Crust:
1 3/4 cup graham crackers (honey or chocolate) or nilla wafers - crushed to a powder
1/4 cup roasted almonds - powdered (optional, or you could increase the crackers by 1/4 cup)
Brown Sugar - half cup
Butter - 4 tbsp, melted
For the Filling:Low fat cream cheese (Neufachtel) - two 8 oz pkgs, softened
Sugar - half cup
Eggs - 2 large
Sour cream - 3/4 cup
Semisweet chocolate chips - about 1/2 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Jam (strawberry, raspberry etc) - 1/4 to 1/3 cup (I used plum jam since i wanted to finish that)
Method:1) Preheat oven to 300F. Line a 13x9 inch pan with aluminium foil - this will ensure that it's easy to lift out the cheesecake when done.
2) For the crust, combine the crumbs, powdered nuts (if using), brown sugar and melted butter. It will seem crumbly... press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool.
3) Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a big bowl. Add eggs one at a time. beating the mixture until fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla stir well. Pour over the crust & spread it out evenly with a spatula.
4) Microwave the jam for about 15-20 seconds to soften it... drop spoonfuls on the filling randomly... make swirls with a toothpick.. you will want to work quickly because the swirls are easier to make when the jam doesn't cool down too much.
5) Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top and bake for 40 mins. Allow to cool and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours before cutting into bars and serving.
In case I don't get to post again before the New Year starts, I'd like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year ahead!