When you're craving cheesecake but don't feel like dealing with the hassle of a water bath situation, make these cherry cheesecake bars. The spiced Biscoff cookie crust is the perfect crisp base for this rich and creamy cheesecake bar. Swirl in bright, fresh cherry preserves and it's cherry cheesecake bar perfection.
Biscoff cookies are crisp, delicate cookies that taste of deeply caramelized sugar, with a mixture of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. They're good. Like, really good. Their texture is similar to that of a graham cracker, and when pulverized and mixed with butter, they bake up to make a crust similar to a graham cracker crust - crispy, buttery and nutty.
I've loved cherries in cheesecake since the days of no bake boxed cheesecake mix, which is the only cheesecake my mom made when we were growing up. For this recipe, I made a quick cherry preserves to swirl into my cheesecake batter. You can use fresh or frozen cherries for this recipe. Make the preserves in advance of making the cheesecake bars so that it has time to cool and thicken.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easier, faster and less fussy than a traditional cheesecake.
- No water baths needed for these bars.
- Each bite is buttery and crunchy from the spiced cookies with creamy, tangy cheesecake and sweet and fruity cherries.
- A great starter recipe for beginner bakers.
- Easy to follow recipe, with step by step photo instructions for perfect cheesecake bars every time.
Sweet red cherries - You can also use tart cherries if they're available your area.
Lemon juice - balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor of the preserves
Biscoff cookie crumbs - Also called Lotus Biscoff cookies or speculoos.
Fine sea salt - for flavor
Cream cheese - Standard 8oz blocks work best here. Avoid cream cheese spread.
Granulated sugar - for sweetness
All purpose flour - helps to prevent cracking and also helps to thicken the batter
Vanilla extract - for flavor
Eggs - contributes to a silky, custardy texture and helps to stabilize the cheesecake
Sour cream - softens and lightens the texture of the cheesecake
- Make the cherry preserves first to give it time to cool while making the rest of the bars. Place the cherries into a small saucepan over medium low heat and use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to smash them. Cook until thickened and bubbly.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch. Whisk the mixture into the cherries and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 pan with two pieces of parchment paper which extend over the sides to give you a ‘"handles" for easier removal after baking.
- Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave in 20 second increments until melted.
- Stir in the cookie crumbs and salt.
- Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool. Reduce oven temp to 325F.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping the bowl down often. This is the time to really make sure there aren't any big lumps of cream cheese.
- Beat in the lemon juice, flour, vanilla and salt.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Beat in the sour cream and mix just until combined. Give the bowl one final scrape and mix again for another minute to ensure everything is smooth and well blended.
- Pour the cheesecake filling over the cooled crust. Add teaspoonfuls of cherry preserves over the cheesecake filling.
- Use a butter knife, or a skewer to gently swirl the preserves throughout the cheesecake mixture, taking care to not scrape the crust under the cheesecake mixture. Add more cherry preserves, swirling it into the batter until all of the preserves has all been used.
- Bake the bars until there *just* a slight wobble in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool at room temperature for half an hour before chilling completely in the fridge.
- The (not-so) secret of getting a silky smooth cheesecake filling is room temperature ingredients. Stopping the mixer to scrape down the bowl every so often also helps to incorporate any unmixed ingredients.
- When pressing the crust into the bottom of the pan, press it down firmly. A firmly packed crust will bake up nice and thick, and most importantly, won’t crumble much when sliced.
- Do not over bake the bars. They should have a slight jiggle in the middle. The will continue to cook a bit longer as they cool.
Storage and Freezing
These cheesecake bars can be made and refrigerated for up two days or frozen in an airtight container for up to two months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before serving.
Replace the Biscoff crumbs with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or chocolate sandwich cookies.
Replace the cherries with raspberries, strawberries or your favorite fruit.
These cheesecake bars are the easiest to slice when they are cold. At the very least, they should be completely cool before cutting into them.
Use a sharp knife, not serrated. I like to use a large chef's knife. Slice into the bars downwards, then carefully pull the knife out. Wipe the knife off on a hot, damp towel between slices for the neatest cuts.
Spraying the knife with a light layer of cooking spray between slicing can also make clean cuts and prevent sticking.
Absolutely. Use a 13"x9" pan. Note the cooking time will be a bit longer so keep an eye on them and start checking for doneness around 40 minutes.
If you these cherry cheesecake bars, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing your bakes and creations.
More Cheesecake Recipes to Try
Cherry Cheesecake Bars
- 1 cup red sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted and quartered
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 ¼ cups Biscoff cookie crumbs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 - 8oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
- Place the cherries into a small saucepan over medium low heat.1 cup red sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted and quartered
- Use the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up the cherries.
- Bring the cherries to a simmer/low boil for 5 minutes to further break down the cherries and release their juices, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch. Whisk the mixture into the cherries.1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Keep whisking while bringing the cherries back up to a low boil/simmer.
- Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature before using.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 pan with two pieces of parchment paper which extend over the sides to give you a ‘"handles" (this helps with removing the slice easily once it is set).
- In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in 20 second increments until melted.
- Stir the cookie crumbs and salt into the melted butter.2 ¼ cups Biscoff cookie crumbs, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pour the crust mixture into the prepared 8" pan. Evenly spread out the cookie mixture along the bottom of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let the crust cool completely while preparing cheesecake mixture.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth.2 - 8oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat for another minute.
- Add in the flour, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat on low until combined, about a minute.1 tablespoon all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Scrape the bowl. Add in the eggs, 1-2 at a time, beating until combined, scraping the bowl between additions.2 large eggs, room temperature
- Beat in the sour cream just until combined.¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan on top of the cooled crust, and use an offset spatula to evenly smooth out the batter.
- Spoon teaspoonful dollops of cherry preserves on top of the cheesecake batter.
- Use a butter knife or skewer to swirl the batter, avoiding the crust below the cheesecake batter. Keep adding more preserves to swirl into the batter until all the preserves are used.
- Bake the cheesecake bars for 40-45 or until the center just has a slight wobble.
- Cool the bars at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 4 hours or overnight.