What do you do when you bake your chocolate sugar cookies a little too long in the oven and they come out too hard?
Be resourceful and make a cookie crust, of course!
That was the inspiration behind making these peanut butter cheesecake bars with chocolate ganache. That, and an insane craving for peanut butter. This peanut butter cheesecake is so creamy and dense– it pairs perfectly with the crunch of the buttery, chocolate crust. Top it with a smooth, rich ganache and you’ll never need to look for another peanut butter cheesecake recipe again.
Trust me. It’s that good.
I ate a nice, big ol’ piece while watching House of Cards and I had the best day ever.
First, to make the chocolate cookie crust, I crushed up the cookies I was intending to use for another project in a plastic bag, using a rolling pin. Don’t feel bad about a bad batch of cookies, especially if they haven’t burned. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I threw them in the trash. Not only is it a huge waste of food, but I worked very hard on making that dough! I’ll be damned if I don’t use it somehow. LilaLoa even crushes her oops-I-left-them-in-the-oven-too-long cookies and makes brownies!
Mix the crumbs with melted butter and press it into a greased pan.
Next, mix the cheesecake ingredients in the bowl…
Lay it on top of your crust…
Put it in the oven, and wait as patiently as you can.
TIP: While I don’t have photos of this step, it’s important to bake your cheesecake with a pan of water on the rack below. This will help keep your cheesecake from cracking on the top.
I don’t have pictures of my ganache in-the-making, but I will include the steps in the printable recipe card below.
Now eat! You’ve earned it.
- 2 cups chocolate cookies, crushed (I prefer homemade!)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli brand)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
- Combine melted butter and crushed cookies, and press into square pan. I tend to combine the butter and cookies in the same small pot I used to melt the butter.
- Once cookies are pressed evenly into pan, bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven and set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, place softened cream, sour cream, and brown sugar.
- Beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in peanut butter until smooth.
- Pour cheesecake filling into crust, spread evenly, and bake for 15 minutes. TIP: to keep cheesecake from cracking on the surface, place a large cookie sheet 3/4 full of water in the rack below the cheesecake as it bakes. As the water heats, the steam will rise and help the cheesecake stay smooth.
- Reduce oven temperature to 200°F and bake for 2 hours, or until center is firm and cheesecake no longer looks wet.
- Remove cheesecake from oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan.
- Turn off the oven and put cheesecake back in oven for 2 hours. This will make your cheesecake creamy and smooth.
- Remove the cheesecake, cover with plastic wrap, and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
- In a medium saucepan, stir the heavy cream, chocolate, and sugar on low heat until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat!
- Cool slightly and pour over your cheesecake that has had time to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
- Put back in the refrigerator so the ganache has time to set.
- Run a knife along the pan
- As stated, to keep cheesecake from cracking on the surface, place a large cookie sheet 3/4 full of water in the rack below the cheesecake as it bakes. As the water heats, the steam will rise and help the cheesecake stay smooth!
- For easy clean up, crush your cookies in a sealable plastic bag.