Gingerbread Cheesecake Blondies
I am obsessed with Netflix and British television. Even while I type this I have Broadchurch on in the background. Crime dramas or period dramas are totally my thing. When I was 18 I thought I was going to be an FBI analysts. Tracking serial killers or figuring out puzzles. I had a knack for figuring out plots. After taking a few courses in psychology I abandoned that plan. I had no idea what I wanted to be after that point but who really knows what that want to be at that point. Wasn't that what colleges was for? You are probably wondering what that has to do with today's post. It really doesn't I thought I would just share a little about me.
Today's post came from my love of gingerbread. I wanted a new way to enjoy the flavors but not in a cookie form. I had originally set out to make a gingerbread flavored cheesecake but couldn't decide on a crust (so stay tuned on that front). The beauty of these bars are the chewy texture and the rich flavor from the molasses and maple syrup. If you aren't familiar with baking with either don't be nervous they have great texture and flavor and a multitude of uses.
To be a blondie I know it needed that chewy brown sugar taste. So yes the recipe is definitely heavy on the sugar. It's the holidays what the heck. I wanted a deep gingerbready flavor so extra molasses was a must. I do use maple syrup in my original cookie recipe and I really just like the flavor it lends to the gingerbread, so in it went. Here is where people argue this isn't gingerbread. I love using pumpkin pie spice. It has all the same ingredients found in traditional gingerbread. Ginger, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. I like to add a little more cinnamon just to round out the flavor. I use a brand called Frontier Co-op Pumpkin Pie Spice, I use it year round and it can be bought at Whole Foods or online for very reasonable price. Other notable brands includes Target's Archer Farms and Trader Joes.
I hope you enjoy these bars. I had a great time developing this recipe. Its not overly sweet and has a great holiday flavor.
Gingerbread Cheesecake Blondies
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice good quality
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of molasses
¼ cup high quality maple syrup - No Mrs. Butterworth's in here.
1 cup of French butter or salted butter, melted but cooled
2 cups of dark brown sugar - light brown sugar can be used but I would up the amount of molasses
8oz of high quality cream cheese, softened – I used farm fresh
½ cup of baker’s sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a Jellyroll pan or rimmed baking sheet about 10” x 15” with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese and whip till fluffy. Add one egg, baker’s sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Whip for a few more minutes on medium high and then set aside.
3. In a small mixing bowl add flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Mix gently. Set aside.
4. In another large mixing bowl mix together butter, molasses, maple syrup and eggs. Mixture should be thick and smooth. Start to slowly add in flour mixture until completely combined.
5. Using a rubber spatula gently spread the mixture out into the lined pan. Make sure to spread it out evenly. Now take the cheesecake mixture and a tablespoon and scoop a spoonful of the cheesecake and place it on top of the gingerbread mixture. Continue placing spoonfuls evenly spaced in rows until the entire mixture is completely used up. Take a butter knife or the other end of the spoon and drag it length wise across the pan, when you reach the other end move up to the next row of cheesecake and drag the knife through again lengthwise. Continue till you have swirled the entire pan.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. If cooking in a deeper pan like an 8” by 11” then it will cook longer up to an hour. Remove and let cool completely before cooling.