This recipe was basically inspired by my own dessert daydreams. You know when you’re craving a bunch of things all at once? And can’t decide which sounds best?
I wanted brownies but I also wanted cheesecake but ALSO peanut butter. Hence these amazing cheesecake bars that satisfy all three categories.
This recipe isn’t difficult but it does dirty quite a few dishes to make every layer. I highly recommend making the brownie layer from scratch as called for in the recipe.
However, you could use a box mix brownie situation, just make sure it’s a fudgy one. You may need to adjust the baking time slightly. Just keep an eye out.
What’s the recipe of your dreams right now? One that combines everything you’ve been craving lately? Spill below!!
How to Make Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars
Here are some recipe tips and tricks so you can wow your friends and family with these cheesecake bars.
How to Make Brownie Bottom Crust
The brownie base of the recipe is a really dense and fudgy simple cocoa brownie. It holds up to the cheesecake without being too thick that it competes with it. You only need a small amount of flour for this brownie crust to get that really fudge-like texture. Heads up, this batter is very thick so don’t be worried if you have to kind of press it into the pan.
Be sure not to over-measure your flour. Spoon and level it!
What kind of peanut butter is best for baking?
Traditional commercial peanut butter, such as creamy Skippy or Jif, tends to work best for baking. “Natural” peanut butter products don’t work well because either the oil separates and causes problems, or the butter is too dry and leads to a dry crumbly final texture. I found baking with something like Skippy results in the best texture and the strongest peanut flavor.
How to Make Creamy Cheesecake
Make sure all your ingredients are completely at room temperature. Your cream cheese should be totally and utterly softened. When it comes to making cheesecake batter, you want to basically beat mixture to oblivion only before you add the eggs.
The cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar mixture should be super duper smooth before you add the eggs. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, as well as the very bottom and the attachment often to ensure no hidden chunks of unincorporated cream cheese remain.
Once the eggs are added only beat until the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to overbeat here to prevent cracking. The good news, though, is that even if these cheesecake bars crack while baking or cooking we’re topping them with a thick ganache which disguises any imperfections!
How to Bake Cheesecake Bars
Definitely line your pan with foil or parchment paper and leave an overhang. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. This will ensure nothing gets stuck and also that you can lift the whole pan out after it’s done cooking to easily cut into clean slices.
For best results – use a metal pan!
I highly advise you use a metal baking pan for this recipe. Metal conducts heat more efficiently than glass or ceramic so you don’t end up with any undercooked centers.
How to Make Peanut Butter Ganache
This isn’t just any ganache, it’s a creamy peanut butter ganache that doesn’t get too hard in the fridge. I use the microwave to make easy work of making ganache, but you can also use a saucepan on the stovetop to heat the cream. Again, be sure to use a creamy conventional commercial peanut butter product here.
How to slice cheesecake bars
For clean picture-perfect slices, use a big sharp knife and run it under hot water and wipe it off between slices. Take out the entire pan of cheesecake bars and place on a cutting surface to make it easier.
How to Store Cheesecake Bars
The cheeesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the bars in an airtight container without the ganache for up to 1 month.