Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Black-and-White Cheesecake Squares

We combined a dark, brownie-like base and a cheesecake to form these Black-and-White Cheesecake Squares that I made for the Wednesday Treat Day that we do each week for Jeff's co-workers.

Before we jump in, I'll suggest you try and keep an open mind... this is quite the fussy recipe, but you'll enjoy the results. That's not to mean this was at all difficult, but there are several steps and lengthy wait times!

A dense chocolate base is prepared using an obscene amount of butter, coarse grains of granulated sugar, a couple eggs and your best sweet vanilla. Where's the chocolate? That comes in the form of smooth Dutch-process cocoa powder that is whisked together with the flour. Before spreading the dark, thick mixture into the baking pan, a cup is reserved and set in the refrigerator to hang out until a little later. Once the chocolate base was pressed over the bottom of the baking pan, the recipe calls to be placed into the refrigerator to chill out for 30 minutes. The dough is on the stickier side and I'd suggest you lay a piece of plastic wrap on top when you go to press it in the pan - makes life easier and keeps your digits clean! When you hear the timer ding and the oven's heated, the base goes in and bakes until the center has set and the edges have puffed up.

So... now what? Yeah, it also called for the base to lounge around on a wire rack to cool before continuing on - see where the fussiness comes in? Well, as it finally cooled down, I creamed together softened cream cheese, enough confectioners' sugar to add a pleasant sweetness, an egg to bind and a dribble of additional vanilla to bounce off the dark base. Not too thin or thick, the creamy topping is spread over the cooled base and is then topped off with crumbles from that reserved dough we had set aside from the beginning. No, we're not done yet... because now this has to go back into the oven and bake once more until the cheesecake topping has set. Whew!

After all that time, you'll still have to wait a bit more as it needs to cool completely before you take your knife and cut yourself a well-deserved square! The decadent base is set off by the striking contrast between the layers - the cheesecake topping is smooth and creamy, while the bottom is rich, moist and chocolate-y. Yes, it might make for a crater in your caloric intake for the day, but after taking a bite from these swoon-worthy bars, who's to care?

I was tempted to skip dinner and have a bar or two instead, but I did have to make sure there was enough left to share tomorrow! So, for dinner tonight, I dipped into the final remains of our corn supply we had in the freezer to make these Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas.

To go in between the white corn tortillas, I added a cup of corn into a skillet with a touch of oil coating the bottom until the kernels gained a bit of color. Sliced green onion and a bit of chopped jalapeƱo were then added and pushed around the pan until that had just heated through. Scoop out into a bowl, I stirred soft, tangy goat cheese into the vegetable combo and let the residual heat smooth the cheese out.

After divvying out the mixture between four tortillas, we spooned a little prepared salsa verde (basically just tomatillo salsa) over the filling and set the remaining tortillas on top to cover. You can finish these off two at a time if you have a fairly large skillet, but don't stress about it - you can bang then out in no time as they only take a minute or two per side to get the tortillas crisp and heated through. After cutting them into wedges, we served them with a bit more salsa verde for added zip. Allowing the kernels to brown first lets the corn caramelize and bring out its inherent sweetness, adding character and depth. While I'm crazy about goat cheese, if it is too much for you, you could cut it with cream cheese so you retain that creamy mouth feel and still get some of the cheese's distinct flavor.


  1. Labor intensive but worth the efforts. I'm sure they will enjoy.

  2. I LOVE goat cheese - your quesadillas look fantastic!

  3. First of all, those cheesecake squares look totally worth the wait. YUMMY! And those quesadillas look fabulous, too. Put them all together and you've got one scrumptious meal!

  4. The squares look great, but I also like the looks of the quesadillas - looove goat cheese!!

  5. Truly drool-worthy! Those squares look like giraffe markings, don't they? And they sure look awfully good, as do the quesadillas...

  6. Helene - They were snatched up pretty quickly!

    Kerstin - Thanks!

    Elyse - I agree!

    Ana - The goat cheese was quite nice in those quesadillas!

    Katrina - Too funny... Jeff told me he heard the same thing at the office today!

  7. The cheesecake square look fantastic. They remind me of the spots you see on a giraffe

  8. I made the cheese squares ! They are delicious ;)

  9. Ala - Fantastic! Thanks for the feedback.