Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
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Pecan pie cheesecake bars are made with a graham cracker crust. Then, we top it with a smooth cream cheese filling. And finally, the top layer is a pecan pie caramel topping! These bars are DIVINE!
Hold the phone; these pecan pie cheesecake bars are now officially my favorite dessert of all time!
I mean, we’re talking about a graham cracker crust scented with cinnamon and a hint of sugar that we topped with a creamy, dreamy cheesecake filling and the top layer is a pecan pie filling. I’ve never met a cheesecake I didn’t love, but these pecan pie cheesecake bars take my obsession to a whole new level!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tested this recipe. I mean, last I remember I went through about 8 pounds of cheesecake and more than sixteen sticks of butter! But every little of it was worth it. Nevermind the fact that I have enough pecan pie cheesecake bars in the freezer to feed the entire neighborhood.
I am not complaining!
Can I tell you a secret? I meant to get these pecan pie cheesecake bars out to you in time for you to make for your Thanksgiving spread. But I wanted to be absolutely sure that the caramel layer would set, so instead of prematurely sharing the recipe, I went ahead and tested it one more time with a bit of tweaking to make sure the bars hold. So if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas dessert, these pecan pie cheesecake bars are it. A nice change of pace from the traditional pecan pie, that’s for sure!
Moving along, how many ways are there to make a cheesecake? I don’t know, but please don’t mind if I decide to try them all out. I’ve tried making a small cheesecake in the instant pot. I’ve made cheesecake stuffed sopapilla bars, blueberry cheesecake french toast happened, and I even managed to make chai cheesecake muffins!
But I’ll tell you this much; this is most definitely not the last time I make a cheesecake dessert recipe. I’m already planning on other ways to make a cheesecake!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THE CHEESECAKE PORTION OF THE PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS?
- graham cracker crumbs
- granulated sugar
- ground cinnamon
- cream cheese
- eggs + yolks
- sour cream
- vanilla extract
WHAT GOES IN THE PECAN PIE LAYER OF THE PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS?
- salted butter
- corn syrup
- brown sugar
- heavy cream
- vanilla extract
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS:
- Nowadays, you can find graham cracker crumbs already prepared for you in the baking aisle! And I’ve formed this recipe so that you need precisely 1 box of them. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, crumbs, and butter in a large. Then, place the crumbs into a baking pan lined with parchment and press them down. My tip is to use the bottom of a measuring cup (spray it with cooking spray if you’re worried about it sticking to the crumbs) and press the crust down into an even layer. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then allow the crust to cool while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer. When smooth, add the eggs one at a time until they are combined. Then, add the sour cream and the vanilla. Be careful not to over mix; it’s okay if the batter has a few small lumps! Pour the cheesecake mixture over the graham cracker crust and bake the cheesecake for 40 minutes. It’s vital to use ingredients that are at room temperature so that the cheesecake bakes in the time I’ve specified. If you use colder ingredients, it will most definitely take longer to bake in the oven!
- When the cheesecake is baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a bit while you make the pecan pie layer. Heat the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan. When boiling, whisk in the heavy cream. It’s important to whisk continuously for 4 minutes. Then, remove the pot from the heat, add the vanilla and the toasted pecans. Then stir the mixture continuously for 5 minutes so that it cools down a bit. Once the five minutes are up, pour the mixture over the cheesecake. Allow for the bars to cool to room temperature before allowing them to cool completely in the refrigerator.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE CAN I MAKE PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS?
The thing I love most about this recipe is that you can make these pecan pie cheesecake bars up to 4 days in advance. I find that cheesecake most often tastes better the day after it was made, so this is the ideal make-ahead dessert recipe!
HOW LONG WILL THESE PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS LAST?
I mean, if you have any left, you can store them covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. But I highly doubt you’ll have nay for that long!
HOW DO I CUT CLEAN BARS?
To make clean cuts, I suggest using a very sharp knife and wiping the blade on a piece of paper towel in between cuts.
CAN I FREEZE THESE BARS?
Yes, you can! We have a large batch stored in the freezer, and when you’re ready to eat, you can do a quick 15-20 second zap in the microwave or allow them to defrost in the refrigerator overnight! These pecan pie cheesecake bars are super low maintenance!
I really hope you won’t let this year go by without trying my favorite dessert – seriously though, and this is by far the best dessert I’ve ever made!
- 1 (13.5-ounce) box graham cracker crumbs (or 3 ¼ cups)
- 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
- 4 packets (2 pounds) softened cream cheese
- 2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
Pecan Pie Topping:
- ½ cup EACH: diced salted butter, light corn syrup, AND heavy cream
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups of toasted pecans
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 13x9 square baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, making sure it hangs over on all sides, so it’s easy to remove later, set aside.
- CRUST: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, ⅓ cup sugar, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Make sure all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a baking pan in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow for it to cool while you prepare the filling.
- FILLING: Beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1 cup of sugar together for a minute until smooth. Then, add the eggs, one at a time, waiting a few seconds, and allowing the egg to incorporate before adding the next. Add the sour cream, then add the vanilla extract and continue to mix for a few additional seconds. It's okay if the batter has a few small lumps. When mixed, pour the cheesecake mixture over the graham cracker base and bake for 40-42 minutes or until the cheesecake is set and not wet. Mine was just barely jiggly in the center, and that’s perfect.
- PECAN PIE LAYER: Add the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to boil while you stir it continuously. When boiling, whisk in the heavy cream and allow for the caramel mixture to cook for 4 minutes on medium-high while you whisk continuously. Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the vanilla extract and stir in the pecans. Then, continuously stir the pecan pie mixture for 5 minutes. Pour the prepared pecan pie layer over the cheesecake and let cool completely to room temperature. Allow the bars to cool in the refrigerator for several hours (ideally overnight), so they are completely set. Remove by gently lifting the parchment and place on a clean flat surface. Cut them into bars and serve!
- Bars are best when removed from the refrigerator about 15-20 minutes before serving. The pecan pie mixture softens a bit and is much easier to break with a fork!
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