I am very much a creature of habit.
Daily routines, favorite foods, clothing styles, music preferences . . .
It’s all so predictable.
So of course, my shopping tendencies are no different.
Case in point: 3 of the same horizontal-striped shirts from Gap in different color combinations. (To be fair, I found two of them on sale. Win win win!)
I don’t know what it is about theses simple stripes that I like so much, but I always (and that’s no exaggeration) reach for this kind of clothing whenever I’m shopping. It’s not so much reinforcing a style as it is my near-obsession with stripes. (And I know that three shirts aren’t enough to constitute me calling this an obsessions – but these guys are just the tip of the iceberg. One look inside my closet and you’d understand.)
So I suppose it’s only natural that I would make a “horizontally-striped” dessert.
Layer bars. I love them.
(Oh, and cheesecake too!)
These bars are awesome. They’re quick and easy (mixed almost entirely in the food-processor), require a pretty limited number of ingredients, and are flat-out delicious.
The first (bottom) layer is a chocolate graham cracker crust. The crust isn’t overly sweet, though you could add a pinch of sugar if you’d like. It’s more about the structural support for the bars, as well as the added chocolate flavor.
Next comes the second (middle) layer, which is really straight-forward vanilla cheesecake. No bells and whistles. But guess what? It doesn’t need it. Good-quality vanilla extract gets the job done.
Last is the third (top) layer – the layer we’ve all been waiting for – the Nutella cheesecake! Blend in the infamously addictive chocolate-hazelnut spread with some reserved vanilla cheesecake and you’re good to go. The Nutella flavor isn’t overpowering at all- it’s actually somewhat subtle. It’s definitely detectable, but if you want a more robust Nutella flavor, go ahead and use a higher proportion of it. You could even make a Nutella fudge sauce to serve with the bars.
You can’t go wrong when there’s Nutella involved.
Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars
- 8 Chocolate Graham Crackers
- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
- 16 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ C. Granulated Sugar
- ¼ + 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ¼ C. Nutella
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter an 8 x 8 baking pan and line with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment is well pressed in the corners. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse chocolate graham crackers until they become crumbs (like bread crumbs). Add in melted butter and pulse until moistened. Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake crust in the center of the oven until set, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Clean out the food processor. Add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, ¼ C. heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Pulse until smooth. Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside. Add Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of heavy cream to remaining 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture in the processor. Pulse until smooth.
To assemble, spread the vanilla cheesecake mixture over the cooled graham cracker base, being careful not to disturb the crust. Pour Nutella cheesecake layer on top of vanilla layer and spread evenly. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
When ready to serve, lift bars out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper (it should release easily). Slice into 16 squares and serve.
Yields 16 Squares