Cate says: I promise that if you make these Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars and bring them to your next party or social gathering, you will be famous in less than five minutes.
Come, take my hand and let me lead you down a dissolute path of delicious decadence. These treats are not low-cal by any stretch of the imagination. They are, in fact, rather an evil force to be reckoned with. But trust me. One bite and you just won’t care.
This past weekend, I made them for my Romance Writers of America chapter meeting. The recipe makes quite a lot so I figured there would be leftovers to take to the office on Monday. Spread goodwill among my fellow workers, suck up to the boss with the sweet tooth, and so on. But at the end of the meeting the plate was picked clean. Bone clean. Cleaner than when it came out of the dishwasher.
You’ll find this recipe, along with helpful household hints and creative tips for vintage notions in the back of GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS.
My heroine, Daisy Buchanan, owns a quirky sewing notions and antiques store in the quaint village of Millbury, PA, and everyone seems to congregate there in the mornings. Her best friend, Martha, is a great baker and brings tasty treats into the store for Daisy’s customers. These cheesecake tidbits are one of Martha’s specialties. But sometimes it can be touch and go as to whether there’s any left for the clientele.
I hope you also enjoy these delectable bars with their creamy, luscious cheesecake filling, crunchy, buttery fudge-like crust and toasted toffee crumble topping.
Now, get ready for your fifteen minutes of fame!
Makes 36 bars
1 pouch (1 pound 1.5 ounces) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
2½ teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup toffee bits, finely crushed
Heat oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients—cookie mix, pudding mix, and brown sugar. Add the melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and 1 whole egg until a soft dough forms. Press the dough to cover the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan (with your spotlessly clean fingers!).
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks, and remaining 1½ teaspoons vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread over the crust in the pan.
Bake 30–35 minutes or until set in the center. Depending on the temperature of your oven, it may take a little longer. Keep checking at 5-minute intervals until the center is no longer wobbly and a knife comes out relatively clean. Immediately sprinkle the top with the crushed toffee bits. If you can’t find pre-made toffee bits, use Heath bars. Crush them inside a plastic bag with a rolling pin.
Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Cate Price’s debut novel is Going Through the Notions. The second book in the series will be A Dollhouse to Die For, and she is hard at work on the third one. Cate loves to chat with readers at her website or on Facebook.