Friday, January 01, 2010
Baking: Eggnog Cheesecake Streusel Bars
Cocoa Streusel Crust and Topping:
2 cups plus 3 T flour- divided
1 cup plus 3 T firmly packed brown sugar-divided
4 T cocoa powder- divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 3 T unsalted butter- softened and divided
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Eggnog Cheesecake Filling
2 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar
2 Lg eggs
2 1/2 tsp bourbon if desired or leave out and increase vanilla to 2 tsp
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp rum extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips for topping
1 1/4 cups pecan halves coarsely chopped
Caramel Drizzle- optional
4 ounces caramel candies
2 T heavy cream
1/2 T unsalted butter
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 1 inch overhang around the top edge of the pan. Smooth out any big wrinkles in the foil; then lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix the Cocoa Streusel Crust. In a med bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups plus 3 T flour, 1/4 cup plus 3 T brown sugar, 2 T cocoa powder, and the salt. Using a fork or your hands, thoroughly work in 3/4 cup plus 1 T butter until you have a moist dough. Press the dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Prick generously with a fork.
3. Bake the crust 15 minutes, or until set but still soft. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before filling.
4. Make the Cocoa Streusel Topping. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 T cocoa powder, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Work in the remaining 6 T of butter until the dry ingredients are uniformly moistened. Set aside for use in step 6.
5. Mix the Eggnog Cheescake Filling. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, less than 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the sugar has dissolve, about 1 minute. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. To keep the batter completely smooth, scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the bourbon, nutmeg, and extracts. Mix until well blended.
6. Pour the filling onto the cooled crust and spread into and even layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the filling, followed by the chocolate chips and the pecans. Gently press the toppings into the cheesecake.
7. Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes, or until slightly puffed and firm through to the center. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. Prepare the caramel Drizzle ( optional ). Unwrap the caramels and combine them with the cream and butter in a small saucepan. Set over medium low heat and stir regularly until the caramels are melted and the mixture is well blended. Drizzle 3 to 4 T over the top of the cheesecake.
9. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
10. Remove the cheesecake from the pan in one block by gently pulling up on the foil overhang. place directly on a cutting board and remove foil. Trim any uneven pieces before cutting the block into 1 3/4 inch squares. For the neatest cuts, use a sharp knife, wiped clean with a warm damp cloth between slices.