Blending Bars for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! If you are in the mood for something sweet that doesn't come out of a box, I've got just the recipe for you. In about an hour, you can have a big pan of decadent bars that combine the sentimental favorites chocolate chip cookies with a swirl of rich, creamy cheesecake filling. On their own or topped with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, they are what you need to make your day sweet!

This recipe incorporates my favorite version of chocolate chip cookies. The key is browning the butter and saving a few chips to sprinkle on top of the bars. The browned butter gives the cookie layer a lot of depth and a nearly nutty flavor without the addition of any nuts. Tossing a few chocolate chips on top of the bars means a still slightly melted treat with every bite later in the day. Just pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy.

If you prefer milk chocolate chips or extra dark chips, feel free to substitute those for the semi-sweet chips this recipe calls for. I use those because that's what my mom always used and these bars blend sweetness and sentimentality in just the right way. What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

For Cookie Dough:
  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 2 oz. more for garnishing
For Cheesecake Filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with baking spray. Set aside.

To make the cookie dough, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool completely, about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale brownish-yellow, about 5 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and cooled brown butter to the egg mixture in the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined, with some dry flour still remaining, about 15 seconds. Add the 8 oz. chocolate chips (reserve the rest for the top of the bars) and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds longer.

Place a little more than half of the cookie dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan and press down firmly, creating an even crust layer. Set aside.

Using the stand mixer again, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and mix until combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the cheesecake filling over the top of the cookie dough crust layer in the prepared baking pan. Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top of the cheesecake filling and sprinkle with the remaining 2 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the pan to cool completely before cutting into bars.

  • Yields: 20 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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