Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Get ready to indulge in rich and moist chocolate cheesecake bars that will satisfy even the sweetest tooth. This dense and creamy treat is full of chocolate flavor in both the crust and the filling. As if it wasn’t chocolatey enough, I even added homemade chocolate whipped topping as the icing, I mean whipped topping, on the dessert bars.
There are three delicious and chocolatey parts to this recipe–the crust, cheesecake filling, and whipped topping.
Oreo Cookies: For the crust, I used about 20 cookies with the filling removed.
Cream Cheese: Make sure the cream cheese is softened, or at room temperature, before making the cheesecake filling.
Heavy Cream: Also known as heavy whipping cream, heavy cream contains 36-40% fat. The cream is the dairy that supplements the cream cheese, giving the cheesecake a smoother texture. You will also use this for the chocolate whipped topping.
Eggs: Again, as with the cream cheese, use room temperature eggs. The eggs act as a binding agent and give the cheesecake structure.
How to Make the Crust
It starts with the crust in these chocolate cheesecake bars. I used Oreo cookies for this recipe. Melted butter and crushed Oreo cookies are the only two ingredients you need! Remove the filling before you crush the cookies as best you can. I used a food processor to get very fine crumbs, but you could also put them in a zipped plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies.
When mixing together the ingredients, use a fork to make sure every single cookie crumb is coated in the melted butter. The butter acts as the binding agent. When you see cheesecake recipes that have piles of crust left on the plate, it is usually because they were not coated with butter. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish.
How to Make Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Once you have your baking dish coated with the Oreo cookie crust, it’s time to make the filling. First, combine the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat up the chocolate chips and cream in 20-second intervals until melted and creamy. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and use a hand mixer to beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each added egg. Pour in the remaining heavy cream, mixing until combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate mixture and add the vanilla, stirring until combined.
Bake the bars for 55-60 minutes, or until the sides of the cheesecake is set but the center is still a bit jiggly. If you want a perfectly baked cheesecake, the internal temperature should be 150°F (and not exceed 160°F). When the cheesecake is done, remove it from the oven and let it chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
How to Make Chocolate Whipped Topping
After the chocolate cheesecake bars have had time to chill and set, it’s time to make the chocolate whipped topping. To make the whipped topping
Don’t aim for “stiff peaks”. You want the whipped cream to keep its shape and be soft, billowing peaks. If by chance you OVERBEAT the whipped cream (I have done this and cried!) fixing it is actually very easy. Simply add in more fresh heavy whipping cream and whisk by hand. My life was changed when I found that out!
Wait until peaks start to form before adding in the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. I much prefer confectioners sugar in this recipe, as it dissolves entirely and leaves a smooth texture. If you choose to use granulated sugar be sure to add it immediately at the beginning and whip it with the cream.
Homemade whipped cream is best used immediately, but it can be stored for up to 10 hours if needed. After that, it may start to separate.
Spread the whipped topping over the chilled chocolate cheesecake bars. Place the cheesecake bars back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving. And, you can add a dollop of homemade whipped topping for an added treat! Store leftover bars in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Can I Freeze Cheesecake Bars?
Yes! With a dessert this rich, it’s hard to get it all eaten at once. But, you don’t want the chocolate cheesecake bars to waste, either. It’s easy to freeze the bars. Just make sure you freeze the bars without the chocolate whipped topping. To freeze cheesecake bars:
- Let the bars cool completely.
- Remove the bars from the pan and place them on a plate (cut or uncut). Put the cheesecake (uncovered) in the freezer for about an hour.
- After the hour in the freezer, remove the cheesecake bars and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place the wrapped cheesecake into a zipped freezer bag or wrap it in aluminum foil. Be sure to label and date the cheesecake. It will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
- 1½ cups Oreo sandwich cookies, filling removed and crushed (approximately 20 cookies)
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1½ cups (252g) semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup (119g) heavy cream, room temperature and divided
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 cup (238g) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (31g) confectioners’ sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine the Oreo cookie crumbs with the melted butter, mixing well with a fork. (You want every crumb coated in the butter as this will be the glue that holds it together.)
- Pour the coated Oreo crumbs into a 9-inch square baking dish. Pat them flat with your hand and then use a kitchen glass to press flatter. Set aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add ¼ cup of the heavy cream and the chocolate chips. Heat for 20-second intervals until the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth with no lumps. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand-held mixer until creamy and smooth.
- Beat in the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and the remaining ¼ cup heavy cream, mixing until combined.
- Fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter on top of the Oreo crust.
- Bake at 325°F for 55-60 minutes. The cheesecake bars are done when the sides are set but the center is still a little bit jiggly.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it rest until the pan is cooled.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until completely chilled.
CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM
- After the cheesecake has chilled, make the whipped cream. Add heavy cream to a mixing bowl. Start mixing at the lowest speed, and then gradually increase speed to medium until the cream starts to get thicker. (The gradual progression prevents you from spraying yourself with cream.)
- When the cream starts to thicken, stop the mixer. Slowly add in the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Then, resume mixing again, starting with low speed and increasing to medium speed, and eventually moving to a high speed.
- The cream will thicken and start to peak. Mix on high until the cream is thick and stiff. This happens quickly, the stage between soft and stiff peaks, so watch it closely.
- Spread the chocolate whipped topping over the chilled cheesecake. Place the cheesecake back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Add a dollop of whipped topping (optional).