Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake Bars

What did I do this St. Patty's Day? I spent it in Prescott, AZ. For those of you who are not from Arizona, Prescott is a small town approximately two hours away from Phoenix. It is funny how people construe desert with Arizona and while that is true, many neglect the fact that two hours north of Phoenix is nice and "normal" weather. Yes, there are trees, real grass, and anything but 100 degree weather. Granted, there is not much to do in this town but it is cute and has its own little unique wonders. I spent the day with my friend exploring the local businesses and seeing what it had to offer. We went to a delicious brewery for lunch and a homemade ice cream shop with over 20 flavors. Aside from the food, everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Look at what you see all around the town (see image to right). Talk about feeling welcomed!

Anyways, what does Prescott have to do with chocolate fudge cheesecake bars? Well, we stumbled upon a bookstore in downtown Prescott (on Gurley Street or somewhere very close). It was this adorable and little local bookstore where one can trade, sell, or buy books. Since it was so small, they try their best to organize the books but books were coming out the shelves, literally. I don't know how the store can squeeze anymore books into that confined space but I knew there had to be treasures in this chest! Upon finding the cookbooks, I intently searched for some sort of cake book but instead found a book titled 201 Chocolate Treats. Of course I couldn't resist picking it up! As I flipped through the pages, I wondered if there were some unique chocolate creations that I don't typically see in the cookbook. I thought there were enough recipes that intrigued my curiosity to sit down and really check out the recipes. So, I ended up supporting one of the local businesses (my new fad) and purchased the book. Let's see how my $4 investment faired...from the aroma of my kitchen as I bake, it's smellin' like a good investment!

Well, I'll give this recipe an A for flavor. It has a rich chocolate flavor that reminds me of a divine brownie/cake that I find at the Rio Buffet in Las Vegas but it's not as dense. Another positive is that that the bars are light and airy. The texture reminds me of a light and airy pound cake. However, I was hoping for a strong cheesecake flavor which didn't come through that much. This was is a little upsetting considering I've been having a cheesecake craving which is why I tried this recipe. I'll have to adjust the recipe next time and add more cream cheese. In the meantime, I'll just have to figure out what to do to satisfy my cheesecake fix...

Overall, if you are looking for a chocolately treat without all the guilt, try this recipe. Don't get me wrong with my criticism, I like this recipe. Investment well made? I'd say pretty much. I'm intrigued to try something else so I guess it's a good investment!

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake Bars
compliments of 201 Chocolate Treats (Gillespie, G. 2001)

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 c. butter
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 tsp almond extract
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 c. flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 13x9 pan.
2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Beat eggs until light and thick. Eggs should look a pale yellow and slightly thick.
4. Beat in sugar and almond extract until blended.
5. Blend in cream cheese and gradually add flour til mixture is just smooth.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges begin to peel away from edge of pan. Cool completely. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes before cutting.

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