Vanilla Chai Cheesecake Bars
Love cheesecake, but don’t want a whole cake? These lusciously creamy cheesecake bars are flavored with chai and vanilla bean for the perfect treat!
All the deliciousness of a rich and creamy cheesecake, in an easy bar form! If making a whole cheesecake intimidates you, try these easy cheesecake bars!
I have a confession to make… I’m afraid of making a true cheesecake. I tried once and it cracked and looked all ugly… so sad. It’s a bit ridiculous to be afraid of cooking something… I mean baking and cooking are my job right? So my goal for this first half of the year is to bake the perfect cheesecake… be on the lookout, it WILL be coming 🙂
In the meantime… this is my easy to make version… cheesecake bars!
You may have noticed that the bars don’t have the classic graham cracker crust… I swapped it out for a buttery shortbread base. It’s similar to the one I used for my Skinny Raspberry Shortbread Bars! Nothing against a good graham crust, but I’m just pretty obsessed with shortbread right now lol.
Baking these bars is super easy, and not very time consuming!
Five easy steps…
- Mix up the shortbread crust and press into pan.
- Bake the crust.
- Mix the filling while the crust is baking.
- Pour into pan on top of baked crust.
- Bake until fully cooked.
And you’ll end up with this!
Silky, creamy cheesecake, bursting with warm chai and vanilla bean flavors. Just begging you to take a bite!
Feel free to take the chai out of the recipe and use it as a good “base” recipe. I’ve made a few versions of these, including a chocolate swirl version. OMG so good. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing quite a few cheesecake bars on the blog!
If you’re worried about the chai being too intense, don’t be… it’s just the right amount of spice, warmth, and sweetness. My 6 year old ate 2 of these bars, and snuck another one while I was doing dishes!
I think you all need these cheesecake bars in your life… they look all fancy, yet are so easy to make!
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- CHEESECAKE BATTER:
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream or heavy cream can be substituted
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsp chai seasoning or same amount of an opened bag of UNbrewed chai tea
MAKE THE CRUST:
Line a 9x9" pan (or 8x8) with parchment paper, spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in flour and stir until thoroughly combined.
Bake for 15 minutes, and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Change oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
MAKE THE FILLING:
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a mixing bowl and a handheld mixer), add cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth.
Add in remaining filling ingredients and beat until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Pour filling onto the crust, using a rubber spatula to get all the filling out of the mixing bowl.
Carefully jiggle the pan very slightly to get the filling in a nice even layer.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set, but soft in the center. The easiest way to tell if it's done is to insert an instant read thermometer into the filling about an inch from the sides. It will read about 180 when finished.
Cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Before serving, sprinkle tops of bars with a little ground cinnamon if desired.