Recipe: Banana split cheesecake bars

Published: Wednesday, May. 29, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4D

Start to finish: 3 1/2 ( 1/2 hour active)

Makes 24 bars

This cookie recipe from the Associated Press was inspired by the classic ice cream treat. Use very ripe bananas in the cheesecake layer for the best flavor.

INGREDIENTS

For the brownie crust:

12 ounces semisweet chocolate bits

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cheesecake layer:

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

3 eggs

For the topping:

1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup pineapple jam

1 tablespoon water

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate bits and butter on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, or until melted. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chocolate-butter mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. If there are any bubbles in the crust, gently push them flat. Leave the oven on.

To make the cheesecake layer, in a food processor, combine the cream cheese, bananas, sugar, flour and salt. Process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing and scraping the bowl between additions. Pour the batter over the brownie crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles. Cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled.

When the cheesecake is completely chilled, arrange the sliced strawberries over the top. In a small microwave-safe bowl, mix the pineapple jam and the 1 tablespoon of water. Microwave until bubbling. Spoon the jam over the strawberries. Allow to chill for 15 minutes for the jam to set up. Cut into squares. Store, well wrapped, in the refrigerator.

Per cookie: 270 calories; 160 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 18 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 100 mg cholesterol; 26g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 120 mg sodium.

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