Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars With a Cranberry Swirl

Sweet Girl Treats
by Sweet Girl Treats
24 bars
1 hr 20 min

These cheesecake bars are made up of classic vanilla cheesecake that is set atop a soft molasses cookie crust and swirled with cranberry sauce. They are the perfect holiday treat!

Here I am with another cheesecake recipe – holiday style! Can you tell what my favorite dessert is yet?? This cheesecake is super low maintenance and doesn’t require a slow cooling or water bath since it is in bar form. Just assemble it and throw it into the oven!

I initially made the cranberry swirl with canned cranberry sauce right out of the can and it turned out to be too watery once baked. So I recommend that you boil and reduce the jellied cranberry sauce prior to swirling it into the cheesecake. This ensures that it bakes into a similar consistency as the cheesecake.

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars With a Cranberry Swirl
Recipe details
  • 24  bars
  • Prep time: 35 Minutes Cook time: 45 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 20 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info
For the molasses cookie crust
  • ¾ cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses full flavor
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the cheesecake filling
  • 32 ounces cream cheese 4 bricks, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
For the cranberry swirl
  • 1 can jellied cranberry sauce 14 ounces
To make the molasses cookie crust
Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the shortening and 1 cup of sugar for 2-3 minutes.
Add molasses and egg. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, salt).
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, ½-1 cup at a time. Mix until combined.
Gently press a thin layer of cookie dough throughout the bottom of the lined 9×13 pan. You will not use all of the dough.
Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes or until the center appears cooked. Set aside to cool.
To make the cheesecake & cranberry filling
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down the bowl once complete.
Add sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, flour and salt. Beat on medium until smooth. Do not over beat. Scrape down the bowl once complete.
Add in egg and beat on low until just combined. Do not over beat.
Remove the cranberry sauce from the can and pour it into a small sauce pan. Use a fork to stir well, and boil for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Allow the cranberry sauce to cool to room temperature (place in fridge or freezer for a few minutes to quicken the cooling) and add ⅓ of cheesecake batter to the cranberry sauce.
Pour the remaining cheesecake batter over cookie crust and spread evenly.
Evenly spoon the reduced cranberry over the cheesecake batter (evenly space 12-16 small spoonfuls, or until you have used all of the mixture).
Use a fork or the end of a spoon/fork to swirl the batter together.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center has little to no jiggle. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours – overnight before serving.
  • Line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This provides an easy way to remove the bars from the pan to cut, and helps prevent sticking.
  • Do not over beat the cheesecake filling! While you want the cream cheese to be smooth, over beating (before or after adding the eggs) can cause the final texture to be too crumbly.
  • Use a hand mixer or fork to blend the jellied cranberry sauce into a smoother mixture
  • Boil the canned cranberry sauce for about 5 minutes to reduce it so that it better incorporates into the cheesecake batter
  • Mix about 1/3 cup of cheesecake batter with the reduced (and cooled) cranberry sauce prior to creating the swirls in your cheesecake. This helps ensure that the texture of the two elements match, and helps the swirls from over-baking and crisping.
  • Chill the bars in the refrigerator overnight to get the best consistency in the cheesecake.
Sweet Girl Treats
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!