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S'Mores Cheesecake Bars

Monday, March 16, 2015

Recipe adapted from Eagle Brand for the cheesecake and Chow for the marshmallow fluff.  [Recipe makes (40) 2"x2" bars in a rimmed half sheet pan, or (20) servings if the recipe is halved and you use a rimmed quarter sheet pan].

In an ongoing search to improve my dessert repertoire, I decided to combine two desserts that people of all ages love:  cheesecake and s'mores.  Although the cheesecake recipe can be made into a standard 9-inch round, bars allow you to double the serving size, which never hurts.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
14 3/8 ounces (~3 3/4 cups or 3 standard packs) graham cracker crumbs
5 1/4 ounces (~3/4 cup) sugar

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces (~2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch fine salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Begin by preheating the oven to 300° F.  Spray the bottom of your rimmed sheet pan with a non-stick spray, and then line the bottom and edges with parchment paper.  Reserve.

For the crust, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar either in a food processor, or by hand in a large mixing bowl.  Transfer the crust to the sheet pan and press down until firm and uniform in thickness.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.  Let the crust cool.

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually incorporate the sweetened condensed milk, making sure to scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with each addition.  Once fully incorporated, mix in the melted chocolate.  Next, add the eggs, one at a time.  Lastly, stir in the vanilla extract.  Transfer the filling to the sheet pan and level using an offset spatula.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the center is almost set.  Let the cheesecake cool on a cooling rack until room temperature, and then transfer to the refrigerator.

For the marshmallow fluff, begin by whipping the egg whites in a stand mixer for 1 minute on medium speed using a whisk attachment.  Add the cream of tartar and salt and mix for 2 minutes on high speed, or until stiff peaks form.  Reserve.

Combine the corn syrup, sugar, water, and half of the vanilla extract in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Whisk until the sugar is dissolved, and then continue mixing the mixture by swirling the pan occasionally until a temperature of 240° F is achieved.

While mixing on a low speed, slowly (and carefully) incorporate the hot sugar mixture with the whipped egg whites.  Mix for 2 minutes.  Lastly, incorporate the remaining half of the vanilla extract.  Transfer to the refrigerator and cool before using.

Once the cheesecake and marshmallow fluff are cool, slice the cheesecake into bars and top with marshmallow fluff.  Although not necessary, you can make these bars true s'mores by finish them off with a kitchen blowtorch for a charred appearance.  [Side note:  As with most cheesecakes, these are best after being cooled for a full day.  If you don't plan on serving them all immediately, the bars freeze great].

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