It’s easy to make a pan of these Cranberry Cheesecake Bars for dessert. Use fresh cranberries or cranberry sauce swirled into classic cheesecake filling.
For the cheesecake bars:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 sheets)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 lbs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (4 packages), at room temperature
1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
For the cranberry swirl* (if not using cranberry sauce):
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 pinch sea salt
Before beginning, set all ingredients out on the counter to come to room temperature. This is very important because it ensures a creamy cheesecake.
Begin by making the cranberry swirl sauce. Add the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has gotten thick. Don’t break up the cranberries too much because you want to have nice juicy bursts in the bars.
Remove from the heat and let this cool a bit while you make the cheesecake.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF and put a large pot of water on to boil. When it reaches a boiling point, pour it into a casserole dish or oven safe pot filling almost all of the way, placed on the bottom rack in the oven. This acts as a makeshift water bath and turns the oven into a “steam room”, ensuring that your crust won’t crack.
To make the crust, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and brown sugar.
Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish, and line it with parchment paper so you can easily pull the bars out of the dish when you want to slice and serve.
Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the dish and set aside.
To make the cheesecake filling, add the cream cheese to a bowl and beat with a standing or hand-held mixer for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Add the sugar and cream together for about 1 minute.
Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Add the eggs one at a time to the cream cheese, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Add the sour cream and heavy cream and beat until everything is mixed well. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the dish.
Spoon tablespoon-sized dollops of the cranberry swirl sauce all over the cheesecake. Using a toothpick or skewer, swirl the sauce all over the pan making a design of your liking.
Place the dish on the middle rack of the oven.
Bake for about 1 hour. The cheesecake will be done when the sides look set but the center still jiggles slightly when nudged.
Turn the oven off and prop it open a little bit. Allow the cheesecake to cool for an hour in the oven.
After the hour has passed, allow the cheesecake to cool completely before placing in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours.
When you’re ready to serve, pull up on the parchment to remove the sheet of cheesecake. Slice into squares, cleaning the knife between each slice to get a clean cut.
- If you would like to use whole berry cranberry sauce for the cranberry swirl, you can. Place one cup in a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook until sugar is combined and the mixture is loose enough that is will spread easily.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 265
- Sugar: 23 g
- Sodium: 223 mg
- Fat: 16 g
- Saturated Fat: 9 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 28 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Cholesterol: 72 mg
Keywords: cheesecake, cheesecake bars, cranberry