Peppermint White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Perfect for the holidays, these cheesecake bars are made with creamy white chocolate, peppermint extract, and studded with pieces of candy canes!
Just in time for holiday baking, these cheesecake bars are made with a tasty Oreo cookie crust, white chocolate/peppermint cheesecake, and studded with candy cane pieces! Made easily in a square baking pan, and with NO water bath, these bars take the difficulty out of making cheesecake!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, I’m thinking ahead to Christmas and alllllll the baking that happens in December. In general, I’m not a baker. Give me a choice of making cookies or a dinner, and I’ll pick dinner every time. I think it’s because baking is so precise, and I’m more of a “wing it” kind of gal.
You’d think having this food blog would have trained me to be more precise, but I usually have to make something multiple times before putting it here for you all. Granted, most food bloggers, including myself, make recipes several times to test it and make sure it’s just right before sharing… but I have to do a few extra times, just to make sure I actually measure things.
I can’t very well post a recipe that says “add garlic powder until you feel it’s enough” right?!
When it comes to holiday baking, I’m not one for making fancy complicated cheesecakes (with this delicious exception). The water bath thing usually does me in… with my foil wrapped springform pan leaking, or the cheesecake cracking despite my best efforts. So these cheesecake bars are a huge win for me. NO water bath! Just like these chai cheesecake bars, it’s easy peasy… and right up my alley!
The drizzle of extra white chocolate on top is totally optional, but incredibly delicious.
I’d love to say that these cheesecake bars are kid-friendly, but my kiddos wouldn’t try them. Neither one of them like peppermint (crazy right?!), so they wanted nothing to do with this recipe. However, I think if your kid DOES like peppermint, they’ll love these. It’s a subtle peppermint flavor, despite the candy cane pieces, which is nice.
OTHER FLAVOR OPTIONS:
- Instead of candy cane pieces, add mini chocolate chips
- Drizzle with dark or milk chocolate instead of white
- Top with a sprinkle of chopped andes mint candies instead of candy cane pieces
As you start thinking about your holiday baking, keep these peppermint white chocolate cheesecake bars in mind! And not only for Christmas, they’d be great for a Valentine’s Day treat as well!
- 8×8 Baking Pan – This is my favorite brand for bakeware, and I use this pan a LOT. It’s held up wonderfully and bakes evenly.
- Parchment Paper – I love that these sheets are only 8 inches wide, which means they’ll fit perfectly in your 8×8 baking pan, with some overhang on 2 of the sides (which you want). No more cutting rolls down to size.
- Peppermint Crunch Candies – In case you can’t find them in your grocery store, these are the ones I use.
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Peppermint White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
- 1 1/4 cups Oreo cookies, creme filling removed (this is about 20 cookies)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
CHEESECAKE FILLING LAYER:
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp white chocolate chips (good quality) - about 3 oz if using a baking bar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 2 large eggs (room temperature works best)
- 1/4 cup candy cane peppermint crunch chips
- dollop of whipped cream
- extra peppermint crunchy candies
- drizzle of melted white chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhand on two of the sides of the pan. Spray non parchment lined sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- To a food processor, add Oreo cookies and pulse until crumbs form. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse a few times until combined. Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan and press into the pan. I find your hands are the best tool here. If you find your hands are sticking to the crust mixture, lightly spray your hands with cooking spray, then continue pressing into an even layer.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
PREPARE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
- Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 F degrees. Melt white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between cooking intervals. When there are just small unmelted pieces left, stir well and let the residual heat melt those pieces. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, add cream cheese and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add sugar and melted white chocolate, beating on low until combined. Beat in heavy whipping cream and peppermint extract.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Continue mixing until fully combined and smooth. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in peppermint crunch candies by hand.
- Pour mixture over the pre-baked crust and smooth into even layer.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until it very slightly jiggles in the center when pan is nudged. Place pan on wire cooling racks and cool completely to room temperature. Place pan in refrigerator and chill overnight (or for at least several hours).
- Use parchment paper overhang to gently lift bars out of the pan. Run a sharp knife under hot water for a few seconds, then wipe clean. Slice cheesecake into bars, repeating the hot water step if necessary.
- Drizzle bars with melted white chocolate, if using. If desired, top bars with a dollop of whipped cream, then sprinkle with additional peppermint crunch candies.