Cheesecake is always a winning dessert choice, especially during the holidays. These delicious bars make it easy to enjoy that wonderful cheesecake flavor without having too much of a good thing!
So, my grandmother gave me this recipe several years ago, shortly before she passed away. The funny thing about it is, it’s so similar to every cheesecake bar made with a cookie mix, but my grandma never used cookie mixes. So, I’m not real sure why she had it, or even where it originated.
She told me to hang on to this recipe because it’s a good one! She was right!! At the time I didn’t think much of it, but I have made many, many variations of this recipe because it turns out great every single time.
Of course like every recipe, I change it up a bit almost every time, depending upon what I’m in the mood for that day! The mini red & green M&M’s give it that special little cheer for the holidays. But feel free to use whatever type of topping your family and friends enjoy. I really enjoy making this recipe. Why? Because not only do the cheesecake bars turn out great, but it’s also a nice way to enjoy that wonderful cheesecake flavor without having a big cheesecake hanging around in the fridge forever. Remember friends, when baking these cheesecake bars, please don’t overbake them.
And of course follow the Golden Rule of Cheesecake, okay maybe it’s not called the Golden Rule of Cheesecake, but everyone knows it’s true.
How big, or small, you cut these is up to you. Here’s my friendly suggestion to you, if these bars are the only dessert being served after a sit-down dinner or such, cut the bars a little larger.
Mini M&M Cheesecake Bars
One 17.5 ounce package sugar cookie mix, or make your own from scratch (like I did with my Peppermint Snowball Cookies)
3.4 ounce box cheesecake flavor instant pudding mix
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
16 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mini red & green M&M’s, and/or chopped white chocolate, if desired
1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and spray generously with cooking spray. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Press 3/4 of the dough into the bottom of the pan, make sure you even it out the corners.
2. Bake at 375 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour over crust. Crumble remaining crust mixture over filling.
4. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 45 minutes. Refrigerate until serving time; preferably overnight. Top with Mini M&M’s and white chocolate if desired, or however you prefer.
5. Cut into desired size bars, serve and enjoy!
MM Note: Sprinkling the M&M’s and white chocolate on the cheesecake bars after they have completely cooled, (or any other candy topping you desire) is intentional. That way they don’t bake into the bars discoloring your beautifully baked cheesecake appearance.