Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars are tangy, sweet, fresh, and rich. Look almost as good as they taste!

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

I haven’t posted anything in about a week and you may be wondering why. I was so busy GRADUATING COLLEGE that I just had no time to make an excellent recipe and write about it. I finished my bachelor’s degree which means I have one semester left for my culinary degree then I’ll be done with school forever! That is a simultaneously exciting yet terrifying thought.

After the holiday season I’m very much looking forward to having more time to dedicate to Handle the Heat and would like to know if you have any suggestions or requests for content you’d like to see in 2013?

Recipe Rundown

Taste: Tangy, sweet, fresh, and rich.
Texture: The crust is firm and crunchy while the filling is incredibly smooth and luscious.
Ease: Much easier than a full sized cheesecake yet just as impressive.
Appearance: These bars look almost as great as they taste!
Pros: Easier, faster, more transportable, and a little lighter than traditional cheesecake. These would make a great festive treat for any holiday party.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Yes.


Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes


For the crust:

20 chocolate wafer cookies (about 4 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

3/4 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
2 tablespoons water
2 (8-ounce) packages 1/3-less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon flour
Pinch salt


For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, pulse the wafer cookies and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan using the bottom of a measuring cup or glass. Bake until slightly firm, about 12 minutes. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

Place the cranberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, liqueur, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the mixture is syrupy. Cool for 20 minutes. Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth, adding more water to thin out if necessary.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat until combined.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared baking pan. Drop dollops of the cranberry mixture onto cream cheese mixture and swirl with the blunt end of a skewer. Bake at 350°F until the cheesecake is set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 40 to 50 minute. Do not overbake.

Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to cool completely in pan. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Using the overhang, transfer cheesecake to a cutting board to cut into squares before serving.

Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat

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8 Responses to “Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars”

  1. #
    Tracey — December 19, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Congratulations Tessa! So exciting! :)

    Love these cranberry cheesecake bars – I can’t get enough of cranberries during the holidays.

  2. #
    Ashley — December 19, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Congrats congrats congrats!!! Hope you get some time to relax in the next couple of weeks. Good luck finishing your culinary degree!

  3. #
    Cathy @ Noble Pig — December 19, 2012 at 8:45 am

    It’s the best feeling ever…that last final! Congrats to you!

  4. #
    Natalie — December 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    These look delicious!! And congrats on graduating! That’s so exciting!

  5. #
    Denise — December 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    congratulations tessa!:) well done! very happy reader right here. haha! all the best. :)

  6. #
    Sharon — December 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Congrats!! I just recently started following your blog and am looking forward to more in the new year. I just wanted to comment to say I love your rundown at the beginning of each recipe. I think it’s a great idea and I always go there first to read!

  7. #
    Bella — December 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Congratulations on your graduation!!!

    The cheesecake looks delicious, might give it a try for Christmas at my house :)

  8. #
    Sarah — December 22, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Congratulations Tessa :)
    I started following your blog just a few weeks ago but I seriously love your recipes ^^ Until now I haven’t been able to try your recipes but this’ll be the first one for sure 😀 It looks marvelous!!
    About suggesting some things…how about the spanish dish Paella :3? It’s one of my most favourite meals ever but it’s nothing for fish-haters since there’re lot of sea animals in there :) Or you could try the asian cuisine ;)?

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