You know what’s great about these Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars? They require no custard making skills, no ramekins, no water baths, nothing too difficult at all. These bars are even easier than a traditional cheesecake. Certainly easier than traditional creme brulee!
But truly the best part? You get to light them on fire with a kitchen torch! If you don’t have one, you can also use your broiler. But the kitchen torch produces much better results. Plus it’s just plain fun to use. Add one to your wish list!
It’s also pretty cool to watch the sugar turn into liquid, deepen in color, and completely harden all within minutes. Don’t get too carried away, though, or you may set off your smoke detector. Also be sure to torch the topping on a heat-safe work surface with nothing flammable nearby. Who knew cheesecake could be so fun?
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars Recipe Tips
How to Make Smooth & Creamy Cheesecake
Make sure all of your ingredients are completely at room temperature. The cream cheese specifically needs to be totally softened. If it’s a cold day, then the cream cheese will need to sit on the counter for several hours or you may need to nuke it in the microwave until it’s completely soft.
To ensure there’s no lumps, also be sure to scrape down your mixing bowl thoroughly after adding pretty much every ingredient. Even if you have a beater attachment that scrapes as it goes. Those don’t always catch everything, especially at the very bottom of the bowl.
If it’s a cold day, you often have lumpy cheesecake, and you’re using a metal mixing bowl, you might want to run the bowl under warm water then dry thoroughly before mixing your cheesecake batter.
Creme Brulee Key Ingredient
The key to making that deliciously flavorful and rich creme brulee flavor is VANILLA. I love to use vanilla paste in this recipe because it gives a generous dose of vanilla without having to cut open and scrape a vanilla pod. If you’d prefer to use a pod, then use 1. If you only have extract, then just use the same amount as the paste called for.
How to Make Ahead of Time
Store the untopped (non-bruleed) cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The bruleed topping should be completed soon before serving so it stays crunchy.
More Cheesecake Bar Recipes:
For the crust:
- 9 whole (135 grams) graham crackers
- 5 tablespoons (72 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 16 ounces (454 grams) cream cheese, completely softened at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the brulee topping:
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square metal baking dish with foil, leaving an overhang.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned and set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Add the cream then the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla paste, and salt one at a time and beat until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 300°F until the cheesecake is set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 35 minutes. Do no overbake.
Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to cool completely in the pan. Cover and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. Using the foil overhang, transfer the cheesecake to a work surface and cut into squares.
Sprinkle the tops of each square with sugar and torch the tops with a kitchen torch until it turns a deep amber color. Alternatively, use a broiler to brown the sugar (just don’t walk away – it goes from bruleed to black fast!). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.