Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 16 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 25 minutes
Tessa's 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.
Would I make this again? Yes.
Cranberries have been sentenced a pretty boring job. Most of us only eat with our Thanksgiving meal, or in dried form as an afterthought on a salad.
Which is such a shame because their sweet yet tart flavor and brilliant gem like color are such fun to bake with!
Take these cranberry swirl cheesecake bars. The tartness of the cranberries enhances the tanginess of the cream cheese. But there’s also a touch of acidity in the cranberries that cuts through the richness of the filling. Add a chocolate cookie crust and you have a burst of flavor and texture in every bite!
I love baking cheesecake bars. They’re much quicker and easier than a full cheesecake. Plus with cheesecake being so rich, you really don’t need more than a square to satisfy the craving.
Cheesecake bars are also perfect for entertaining. SO much easier to transport and serve! You can cut these into smaller pieces for a party. I hope you’ll make them for your friends, family, or coworkers this holiday season!
Can Cheesecake Bars be Frozen?
These Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, place the chilled cheesecake (cut or uncut) in the freezer until firm and frozen. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, wrap it well in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a resealable container. Store for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
More Cheesecake Bars:
- Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars
- Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
- Brownie Bottom Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
This post was originally published in 2012 and recently updated with new photos, recipe improvements, and weight measurements. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars are tangy, sweet, fresh, and rich. They look almost as good as they taste!
For the crust
- 10 (150 grams) chocolate graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For the cranberry swirl
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- 2 tablespoons Chambord or Grand Marnier, optional (replace with water if not using)
- 3 tablespoons water
For the filling
- 16 ounces (454 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Pinch salt
Make 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 crackers 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 fragrant, about 10 minutes. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Maintain oven temperature.
Make the cranberry swirl:
Place the cranberries, sugar, zest, 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 thickened and syrupy. Cool for 20 minutes. Using a mini food processor, blender, or immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth, adding more water to thin out if necessary. You want this mixture to be a similar thickness and consistency to the cheesecake batter.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat until combined. Be careful not to overbeat.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Drop teaspoon-sized dollops of the cranberry mixture onto cream cheese mixture and swirl with a butter knife. Bake at 350°F until the edges are slightly golden and the cheesecake is set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake.
Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to cool completely in pan. Cover and chill in the fridge until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. Using the overhang, transfer cheesecake to a cutting board to cut into squares before serving.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
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