Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

We're in the Christmas spirit in my house!  We decorated our tree, went to see Santa and Christmas lights, and have been listening to Christmas music around the clock.  Big asked me why the song was called "Walking Around the Christmas Tree" and I hear "having a nature sing, having a nature sing" when Middle sings the chorus of "Joy to the World."

Last night, I got to host our book club and I made a few holiday desserts that turned out great.  Trust me when I tell you that you want to make these eggnog cheesecake bars - they were light and perfect cut into little squares.  I thought at first that I'd rather make a bigger pan than a 9x9 but all you need is a small bar.

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars (makes 16 bars)

12 graham crackers, finely ground (1.5 cups)
3/4 cup + 3 T sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 lb cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup egg nog (not the "light" kind)
1 T + 1.5 tsp flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T brandy (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Lightly grease a 9x9 pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and the melted butter.  Press into the bottom of the pan.  I use a measuring cup to pack it all evenly.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the pan cool (about 15-20 minutes should be fine).

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust.  Place the 9x9 pan into a larger roasting pan.  Pour hot water (I boiled it in a tea kettle) in the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the 9x9 pan.  Place the whole thing in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the middle is just set.

Cool on a rack for about a half hour.  Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.  Slice and serve with a little more nutmeg sprinkled on top.

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