Cappuccino Cheesecake Bars

To serve cleanly cut cheesecake bars, dip a sharp knife into a tall glass of hot water. Wipe the knife dry with a thick kitchen towel, then cut bars in the pan. Repeat dipping the knife and wiping it every few cuts. (This works for slicing cheesecake, too.)
MAKES 15
October 2010

INGREDIENTS

  • 9 whole graham crackers, broken up
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 6 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large egg

PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 11x7x1 1/2-inch metal baking pan. Grind graham crackers with 1/4 cup sugar in processor to small crumbs. Add 1/4 cup butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder. Blend until crumbs are moist and stick together. Transfer 1/2 cup crumb mixture to pie dish for crumb topping. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of prepared metal baking pan. Bake crumbs in pan and pie dish until golden, 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
  • Meanwhile, stir remaining 5 teaspoons espresso powder, 1 tablespoon cream, and vanilla in small bowl until coffee dissolves. Beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add 2/3 cup sugar and beat to blend. Beat in coffee mixture, then egg.
  • Spread filling evenly over crust in metal baking pan. Bake until set, about 25 minutes. Chill uncovered until cold and firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  • Beat 1 cup cream in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 3 strips; cut each strip into 5 bars. Transfer bars to platter. Dollop whipped cream atop each bar. Sprinkle with crisp crumb mixture from pie dish.
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