Everyone loves getting a makeover and these cookie bars are a scrumptious makeover of my cookie cheesecake bars I made a few years ago. Peanut butter cookies are my favourite cookie and I was also thinking about the peanut butter cheesecake I made for a friend’s birthday. I told my friend about my plans for these and he said it sounded a bit like a Snickers bar. It then occurred to me to add some chopped up Snickers bars to make these bars even more delicious. Fair warning though – they are a very indulgent treat! But my motto is “everything in moderation, including moderation”.
Taking photos of my baking in the winter months is always a challenge. By the time I’m out the door in the morning, it’s not fully light out and it gets dark by 4pm. Since I rely on the natural light to take the photos, it’s more difficult to get a good quality image. One day I’ll get some proper lights… the dream! But when I was in Edinburgh last weekend, I made good use of the low winter light. I went out urban sketching, and as the sun was setting, Edinburgh Castle became almost luminescent. Lots of people stopped to admire the castle soaking up the last light of the sun. I tried to capture it with pen and watercolour. Funnily, a few passersby stopped and asked me for directions – they assumed that because I was painting, I must be a local!
The peanut butter cookie bar is soft and has more of a blondie texture than that of a dense, chewy cookie, but it holds the cheesecake mixture well. I adjusted the quantities slightly and made it in a 7″x11″ pyrex baking dish rather than a traditional 9″x13″ tin. The result was that the cookie bars were substantially thicker than when I’ve made other variations before. They needed a bit longer in the oven, but they were cooked through and the cheesecake was nicely golden brown and set.
I took these into work along with some gluten free brownies… they did not last long! Peanut buttery, chocolately, gooey, chewy… these bars have it all! Definitely a crowd pleaser if you’re wondering what to bring to your next office party or family gathering.
Snickers Cheesecake Cookie Bars
Peanut Butter Cookie Ingredients:
adapted from allrecipes.com
- 220g plain or all purpose flour
- 275g packed light brown sugar
- 200g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy… whatever you prefer!)
- 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 200g chocolate chips, divided
- 1 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Mixture Ingredients:
- 200g cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 75g white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 Snickers bars, chopped into small chunks
- Grease a 7″x11″ pyrex baking dish with butter. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
- Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the peanut butter until well combined.
- Beat in the egg until well combined and mix in the vanilla extract and milk.
- Sift in the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until just combined. Stir in approximately 175g of the chocolate chips and set the remainder aside.
- Press two-thirds of the dough into an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan (I found it easiest to use my fingers to do that). Set aside the other third of the dough.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Mix in the chopped snickers bars.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cookie dough layer in the bottom of the pan and spread to the edges. Use the other third of the cookie dough (that you set aside earlier) to top the cream cheese. The easiest way to do that is to grab pieces and flatten them into discs between your hands then place them around the cream cheese layer. The cream cheese layer doesn’t have to be fully covered. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the little cookie dough islands.
- Bake for 30-40, or until the top is brown and cooked through (the bars will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan slightly). Keep a close eye on the top – if it looks like it is burning, but it’s not cooked through then cover with tin foil and finish baking. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature then store in the refrigerator.
- Cut into 20 bars and enjoy! Best stored in the fridge.