Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
These sweet and tangy Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars have a chocolate graham cracker crust and are much quicker to bake than a standard cheesecake. Plus, no water bath needed!
If you love cheesecake as much as I do, you're going to want to make these Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars ASAP! The soft cheesecake layer has a touch of silky sweet from the white chocolate, and an extra punch of tang from the sour cream. The raspberry flavor also comes through so nicely (especially with the fresh berries on top), and it finishes with the rich and crunchy chocolate graham cracker base.
Cheesecake bars are great because it's basically the same as a normal cheesecake, with far less fuss and fewer ingredients needed. And BONUS, they are easy to transport and can be picked up with your hands. Finally, these freeze exceptionally well, so you can take out a square whenever that craving hits 😉.
Ingredients for Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars with chocolate graham cracker crust
- Chocolate graham crackers. The recipe uses one sleeve/9 crackers/1 cup ground/~140g.
- Unsalted butter. Melted.
- Granulated sugar. For the crust, cheesecake, and raspberry sauce!
- Cream cheese. I always use Philadelphia brand (it's truly just the best in my opinion). The cream cheese must be fully room temperature, even slightly warmer. You should be able to push your finger the whole way through the block without resistance.
- Large eggs. Whisked and at room temperature.
- Sour cream. At room temperature. If cold, it will leave chunks in the cheesecake batter. Boo!
- White chocolate. I used a Ghiradelli bar for this and chopped it up. Do not use chips, as the additives inhibit melting and may not mix into the batter nicely.
- Vanilla. Love me some vanilla paste, but extract is great!
- Raspberries. Fresh is best, but frozen could also be used. Be sure to thaw and pat dry the handful of whole raspberries that would get placed on the top.
This is the first step you want to take in the process, as the raspberry sauce will need time to fully cool before swirling into the cheesecake layer. Add the raspberries, sugar and splash of water to a small saucepan and turn it to medium heat. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir and break down the raspberries. It will create a rather jammy looking consistency and will be bubbling.
Pass the raspberry sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and then allow it to cool completely. I like to stir mine every once in a while to help the process along. Once cool, transfer to a piping bag or ziplock bag before making the swirls.
Chocolate graham cracker crust
After making the raspberry sauce, pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until very fine and sandy. If you don't have a food processor, add the graham crackers to a ziplock bag, remove the air, and crush with a rolling pin, bottom of a frying pan, etc.
Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and mix in the sugar and salt. Next, drizzle in the melted butter and mix it together with a fork until the crumbs are completely moistened and it holds together when smashed down.
Prepare an 8x8" square pan with parchment paper slings and spread the crumbs around evenly. Then, compact it down. I like to use both an offset spatula and a ⅓ dry measuring cup to get it really compact. The bottom of a drinking glass (if flat) also works great.
Bake the crust in a 350℉ preheated oven for 8 minutes, then place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
Start by preparing a double boiler to melt the white chocolate. Add 1 inch of water in a saucepan and place a bowl over top. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Turn the burner on to medium heat and add the chopped chocolate to the bowl. Stir it occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and no chunks remain. Remove the bowl and allow the chocolate to cool a bit.
NOTE. All dairy portions for the cheesecake layer need to be at room temperature, as room temperature ingredients homogenize best. This is the best way to avoid lumps in the batter. The cream cheese should be very soft - if you push your finger into the cream cheese, it should press through to the bottom without any effort. The eggs and sour cream must also be at room temperature.
Start by placing the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. If you don't have a stand mixer, a hand mixer can be used, if necessary. Keep in mind that a hand mixer's lowest speed is much faster than a stand mixer's lowest speed, so take care not to whip too much air into the batter.
Mix the cream cheese on low until it becomes smooth. With the mixer running, add the sugar and mix until combined. At this point, scrape down the sides (don't skip this). Next, add the beaten eggs in a steady drizzle with the mixer on low, and add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides one more time (don't skip this), then continue mixing on low until the eggs are completely incorporated.
Finally, using a rubber spatula, fold in the sour cream until no streaks remain, then fold in the melted white chocolate until completely incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and smooth it out.
Add the raspberry sauce to a piping bag or ziplock bag and snip a ½cm piece off of the tip. Drizzle the raspberry sauce in a random pattern over the top of the cheesecake batter. You may have a small amount leftover, as you want to keep some of the cheesecake parts showing.
Use the tip of a butter knife to swirl the raspberry sauce into the cheesecake until the desired pattern is created. Sprinkle fresh raspberries evenly over the top, then bake at 350℉ for about 45 minutes until done.
The edges will be set and slightly puffy, and the center will have a jiggle to it, but should not be sloshy. Place the bars on a wire rack to cool for one hour, then transfer to the fridge to chill and firm up for at least 4 hours, uncovered.
Tips for success
- Be sure the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream are all at a soft room temperature so everything incorporates nicely.
- Fight the urge to increase your mixer speed. Incorporating air into the batter can lead to large cracks.
- Be sure the raspberry sauce and white chocolate are cool before using.
- Allow a full 4 hours for the bars to firm up to get that dense cheesecake texture.
- When slicing, completely wipe off the knife in between each cut to get nice, clean sides.
Can these be frozen?
YES! Cool, cut, and slice the bars, then freeze them flat in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months. When you want to enjoy a slice, transfer it to the fridge for an hour or two, or allow it to sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes.What type of white chocolate should be used?
For all tests of this recipe, I used a Ghiradelli white chocolate bar. It's easy to find, melts easily, and combines nicely. White chocolate chips have stabilizers and may not melt or combine in to the cheesecake as well.Can I omit the white chocolate?
Yes, definitely. Follow all the same instructions, just leave out the white chocolate.Do I need to use a water bath?
Not for this recipe! While you may get a small amount of separation around some areas of the raspberry swirls, they are minimal and most get cut through when slicing, anyway.
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Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
- 1 cup raspberries 140g
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 25g
- Splash of water
- Additional raspberries for the top
- 1 cup chocolate graham crackers ground (~140g)*
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 25g
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (57g)
- 16 oz full fat cream cheese softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150g
- 2 large eggs room temperature & whisked
- 2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1/4 cup full fat sour cream room temperature (70g)
- 4 oz white chocolate melted
- Start by making the raspberry sauce. Add the raspberries, sugar and splash of water to a saucepan and turn on medium heat. As they cook down, use a spatula or wooden spoon to break down the fruit to help it release the juices.
- Once the raspberries have broken down significantly and bubble and thicken, pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and allow it to cool completely. Stir it occasionally to help along the cooling process.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8x8” pan with two strips (pan length) of parchment paper to create a sling. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until fine and sandy. Alternatively, place the graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin, frying pan, etc. until it’s as fine as possible.
- Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and mix in the sugar and salt. Drizzle in the melted butter while stirring with a fork. Continue mixing and pressing the crumbs together until they look evenly moistened, resembling wet sand.
- Add the crumbs to the prepared pan and spread evenly, then push down the crumbs to compact them. I like to use an offset spatula and a ⅓ dry measuring cup to do this. The bottom of a drinking glass also works.
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Start by chopping the white chocolate into small pieces, then add it to the bowl of a double boiler. Add 1 inch of water to a saucepan and place the bowl overtop. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Turn to medium heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and no chunks remain. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool, but remain melted.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) add the cream cheese and mix on low until spread out. Next, add the sugar and mix again on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then drizzle in the beaten eggs in a slow stream with the mixer running on low. Finally, add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides one more time, then mix on low speed until the eggs are completely incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the sour cream until no streaks remain. Then, fold in the melted and cooled white chocolate until the mixture is totally combined.
- Add the cheesecake batter to the cooled graham cracker crust. Scrape down the sides and get every bit out!
- Transfer the raspberry sauce to a piping bag (or ziplock bag), cut off the tip, and drizzle it randomly over the top of the cheesecake layer. Use a butter knife to swirl the raspberry sauce into the cheesecake until the desired pattern is created.
- Dot some fresh raspberries evenly over the top, then bake at 350F for about 45 minutes. The center will be jiggly, but should not be sloshy.
- Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for one hour, then transfer to the fridge to chill (uncovered) for 4 hours or overnight.
- Use the parchment slings to remove the bars from the pan, and cut into 9 or 16 squares.
- *1 cup of ground graham crackers is equivalent to one sleeve, or 9 crackers (in the U.S.)
- Store the bars in the fridge for up to 5 days. See post for freezing instructions.