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Wild Berry Cheesecake Bars

yield: 1 (8 x 8 inch) square baking pan
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Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • 8 oz. white chocolate
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups wild berries (I used blackberries and raspberries)

Instructions

To Prep

  • Preheat the oven to 325 (F).
  • Fold a 16-inch long piece of foil to an 8 x 16 -inch stip and place in the baking pan, leaving an overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil in the opposite direction, lining the pan completely. Spray bottom of the foil lightly with nonstick spray and set aside.

For the Graham Cracker Base

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Add 6 tablespoons melted butter, and stir completely into the dry ingredients to combine. The mixture should have the consistency of wet sand.
  • Use a rubber spatula to transfer the mixture to the baking pan, and, using the back of a spoon or your hand, press evenly into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until fragrant and golden. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • Use a double boiler to gently melt 8 oz. white chocolate, taking care not to scorch. Set aside to cool completely.
  • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream 16 oz. cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating on medium speed until just combined.
  • Use a rubber spatula to gently add the cooled white chocolate (from the first step) and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, stirring by hand until just combined.
  • Spread mixture evenly over the baked and cooled graham cracker crust and tap the pan gently on the counter to let the cheesecake filling gently spread out and settle in.
  • Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1 1/4 cups wild berries, pressing the berries ever so slightly with the back of a spoon so that the berries are almost level with the cheesecake filling.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes, or until the cheesecake wobbles just slightly through the center and the edges are a little golden.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack, before placing in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to chill thoroughly.

Notes