April 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

I love peanut butter. Chocolate and I are cool.  Not besties, but we dig each other.  But, peanut butter and chocolate - that's a whole other friendship realm.  Especially in the shape of a peanut butter cup!  I have seen the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup minis for like MONTHS, but hadn't gotten around to trying them yet.  In my mind I needed a reason, and though to eat in a day is a fantastic reason, my willpower finally kicked in.  However, Those mini Reese's cups might be fantastic in a cheesecake, right?!  Right indeed!

It didn't take long for me to get my butt in gear and put this recipe together!  But I knew I wanted to combine the sweetness of the Peanut Butter and Chocolate with some salty, since I love the salty-sweet combo.  Ever since the Pretzel M&M came out (and how fabulous is that, BTW?!), I've been telling Rob that they need to make a PB Pretzel M&M.  Might be too much for a tiny little piece of candy, but imagine the possibilities.  With that in mind, I thought a pretzel crust would be the perfect touch to a Reese's PB Cup Cheesecake.  I was hesitant to add too much salt, so half pretzel, half graham?  Fantastic decision if I do say so myself.

These cheesecake bars had everything I wanted.  Creamy cheesecake.  Rich peanut butter and chocolate.  Salty pretzel.  Sweet honey graham crackers.  I could say it's like this was made specifically for me, but, well - it was!

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars with Pretzel Crust
For the Crust
1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 cup crushed salted pretzels (I did not want it finely crushed - leave a little bit of
6 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour

For the Cheesecake
16oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup minis, to taste
2-3 oz. melted chocolate (I used dark chocolate because it's my favorite, but semisweet would be great!)

Line an 8-in baking pan with foil, leaving a few inches hanging over to make it easier to lift out.  Combine the crushed graham crackers and pretzels with butter, sugar and flour.  Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until it begins to lightly brown.  Allow to cool while making the filling.

Using a food processor, mix the cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Add in sugar and mix again until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl and add 1 egg at a time.  Add in sour cream and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the cooled crust and add desired amount of mini Reese's, saving the rest for garnish.

Bake in a 325 degree oven until the cheesecake is just set but the middle still jiggles a bit.  About 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the cheesecake cool on a rack for 2 hours, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting.  Using the excess foil, pull the bars from the pan and cut in to squares.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the bars.  Top with remaining Reese's for garnish.

Source: Adapted from Baked Brie

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