Sometimes you just need to combine chocolate and beer. When the vessel for this flavor combination happens to be cheesecake, everything just feels right in the world, if only for a fleeting moment. I think that’s the magic of dessert and of chocolate especially. One bite and you’re transported somewhere else. A beautiful place where all that matters is that you savor each bite of chocolate goodness that you have. This recipe definitely takes you to that place! There’s so much goodness going on here but I especially love the pretzels in the crust. They add a perfect bit of salty crunch which takes this cheesecake to the next level.
Taste: These cheesecake bars have a rich chocolate flavor that works wonderfully with the tang of the cream cheese, the richness of the stout, and the saltiness of the crust. You don’t really taste the stout distinctly, it just enhances the chocolate flavor.
Texture: I love this crust! The pretzels give it a little bit more crunch but it still holds its shape and provides a wonderful bed for the cheesecake filling.
Ease: So much easier than baking a traditional cheesecake. You don’t have to worry about these cheesecake bars cracking or preparing a water bath.
Appearance: I think these look pretty darn tasty.
Pros: Easier than traditional cheesecake, absolutely delicious.
Cons: Not exactly health food.
Would I make this again? Yes.
Chocolate Stout Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 8 cheesecake squares
4 full graham cracker sheets
1 1/2 cups small twist pretzels
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup stout beer
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on two sides. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, pretzels, and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
For the filling:
In a small saucepan combine the chocolate and beer over medium-high heat. Heat until the chocolate is melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Wipe the processor bowl clean and add the cream cheese and sour cream. Process until smooth, scraping sides of the bowl as needed. Add both sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla and espresso powder and process until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and cornstarch and pulse to combine. Add the melted chocolate mixture and pulse until combined. Pour the filling over the cookie crust.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is only slightly jiggly. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Use the foil to lift the cheesecake from the pan and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice into bars. For cleaner cuts, dip knife in hot water and wipe between cuts.
Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat