Friday, February 25, 2011

[Cookie 100] Ginger Cheesecake Bars

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OHHHHHHHHHHHHH
MYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
GODDDDDDDDDDDDD!

100 cookies. I am now realizing that this makes me certifiably insane and totally nerdy, this whole endeavor that is. Sometimes it takes some sort of monumental event or milestone to really wake you up, and this is it. What the hell have I been doing for the past 2 years? Speaking of which, I think this is exactly my two year mark! Holy shit DOUBLE CELEBRATION OVER HERE! Two years ago, it was recipe number 001: Pfeffernussen! Whack! Seems like forever ago!! I am so excited right now even though it's raining outside, I just bought an umbrella that already broke, and I had to commute to school on my day off at 8:30 in the morning to return a (really sexy) camera and now I'm scanning negatives for hours. I am still, despite these banalities, living life ON THE EDGE with this super cool and respectable blog.

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Enough of that. I wish I had baked something really beautiful and celebratory and covered in sprinkles and on fire or something in order to really celebrate this day, but I didn't realize I was baking my 100th recipe when I picked out this one. Actually, to be fair, my ol' pal/roommate picked this one out for her birthday, so really it makes this cookie a TRIPLE CELEBRATION. I really should have set off some fireworks or something.

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But it's okay that I didn't, because the cookies (or shall I say, bars) are awesome anyways. Like, real good. Really really good, even if you're not really a cheesecake fan, like me. They are light as far as cheesecakes go, and the gingersnap crust combined with the candied ginger in the cheesecake is a perfect balance to the creamy and rich flavor of the cheesecake itself. Perfect. I would make these again, I'm telling you right now. They were gone very very fast.

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Now, if you're like me and you like to leave your kitchen appliances at your friends' apartments and forget about them until you actually need them, you probably know all about getting around without a food processor. This recipe really needs one in order to grind up the gingersnap cookies, but when you gotta make do, you gotta make do. Enter: empty liquor bottles! Pullin' out the old Nancy Drew card, yeah!

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See, it totally works. You don't even need the food processor now! Well, it's not that simple, especially if you buy the gingersnaps sold at Met which are actually made out of cement. You really gotta use force with that bottle, and make sure to wrap the cookies up in several bags so you don't make a mess. And then use a grater/zester lid to sift through the crumbs and weed out the bigger chunks. Repeat. It's like panning for gold, but with more aggression!

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After all that work, the rest is easy. Mix a little here, bake a little there. The hardest part is having to wait for it to cool, and THEN having to wait another hour while it chills in the fridge. We didn't really wait that long. No regrets. But do make sure to bake it fully if you really want that cheesecake consistency. We also didn't do that. It was a little soupy and too soft. It was damn good. No regrets there either.

Alright, so, in conclusion: these taste downright delicious and you should make them. Sooner rather than later, because trust me, as soon as you try one you'll be kicking yourself as to why you hadn't made them yesterday. Sure, they ain't much to look at, but they got it where it counts. That felt weird to type. I need a nice concluding witticism for this post. I'll just end it here.

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Ginger Cheesecake Bars
Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 12 ounces store-bought gingersnaps (about 45 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

  • Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Place gingersnaps in a food processor; pulse to a powder. Transfer to a small bowl, and stir in butter until well combined. Press gingersnap mixture evenly into bottom of prepared baking sheet. Bake crust until firm, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until softened. Mix in sugar, egg, egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla until well combined. Mix in crystallized ginger.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture onto crust, and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until filling has puffed and feels slightly firm to the touch (do not let brown), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until set, about 1 hour. To serve, cut into bars. Bars can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 2 days.

  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 3/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
    Tastiness: 5/5
    Attractiveness: 2/5
    Is it worth it?: Worth going to the gym for, or skipping the gym for that matter.

    {Pairings}
    Drink: Water. Bacardi? Ew no.
    Song: This was really awesome too!
    Activity: Lighting fireworks--someone please do it.

    4 comments:

    Jim said...

    Nice post kiddo.

    ♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

    Oh i am so glad to find ur blog and ur delightful journey , sure wanna go thru all ur posts as well as not miss any more, so am kinda sad u dont have the email subscrb here :-(
    That said i love MS too and her recipes are some of the most wonderful ones.
    And u sure excel in all ur bakes.

    ♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

    So g

    Cathy Pieroz said...

    Wow these look AMAZING!!! Gingerbread and cheesecake... possibly 2 of my favourite things in life. These will be getting tried on the weekend for certain! Thankyou thankyou thankyou - Cathy Pieroz at Ray White Alexandra Hills