Here’s a recipe for all you chocolate peanut butter lovers out there. It also happens to be the first baked cheesecake I think I’ve ever made – I usually opt for a no-bake option. This cheesecake has a lovely smooth texture with a pop of peanut butter to complement the chocolate and peanut butter cups. The pretzel bottom crust is a nice finish to add salty to the sweet.
I found this cheesecake tasted best after having sat in its flavours for a day or so and softened the crust a little. You know how chili and sauces are always best the next day because they’ve really soaked up all the flavours? Turns out, this cheesecake follows that same rule. On the first day, it was good, and I served it to dinner guests – we all enjoyed. The next day, though, and in the subsequent days after, this cheesecake tasted better and better! (My friends agreed, as this dessert followed two dinners that week.) It seemed to lose the tangy cream cheese taste and settle into its creamy peanut butter flavour as time went on.
My one tip for this recipe is to do with the pretzel bottom crust. If you like a thicker crust (which I usually do) you can add more pretzels to it (about three cups worth instead of two) which the initial recipe had called for. I made the original recipe, and found the crust to be a little too dry, and while I like a thick crust, it seemed to take away from the overall taste. The changes I recommend for the crust I’ve already made to the recipe you see here.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 cup finely ground salty pretzels (about 2 cups whole pretzels)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup butter, melted
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling
16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature (not fat free)
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 regular sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (or 20 small)
1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9×9 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
For the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse pretzels into a fine crumb. Stir the pretzel crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together in a medium sized bowl. Press evenly into the lined pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
For the filling: Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract together with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Fold in the chopped Reese’s cups and spread the mixture over crust. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
For the drizzle: Melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips together in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth and drizzle over squares. Chill until chocolate it set. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.
Store bars in a covered container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan, baking time will vary – about 45-55 minutes.