Eggnog is a love-it or hate-it sorta deal.
Personally? I love it. Can’t get enough of it. Not so much the homemade, liquor-laced stuff served in crystal tea cups at holiday parties, but the good old-fashined store-bought junk.
Eggnog loves me too–it sticks around on my booty long after the holidays are over.
So my booty and I got to thinking: how can we make eggnog more fattening, more calorie-laden, and more delicious?
Stick it in a creamy cheesecake bar with a buttery, graham-crackery crust. That’s how.
Martha had the same idea. We’re on the same page, Ms. Stewart and I. So I decided to try her recipe for these lovely bars, with a few variations, of course.
First for the dry stuff: granulated sugar, salt, graham cracker crumbs (or the real deal, if you’ve got ’em), nutmeg (fresh ground, if you have it, or pre-ground, if you’re lazy like me), and all-purpose flour.
And the good stuff: three eggs, vanilla extract, buttah (half a stick, unsalted), egg nog, cooking spray, and one pound (16 oz, or 2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature.
Kick off by coating a 9 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
Throw 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or 12 crackers pulsed in a food processor) in a bowl.
Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and mix in on up, baby.
Melt the buttah…
And pour it on in the bowl.
Now it’s time to get those hands dirty.
Mix it up until it’s evenly combined. Kind of like playing in the sand at the beach…if the sand was buttery and greasy.
Okay, bad metaphor.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the greased pan. Make sure it’s packed down nice and tight.
Bake in a 350° oven for 12-15 minutes, then pull it out and let it cool off for a bit.
Now, cube up that cream cheese and stick in in yo mixer*.
*Next time, I’d use a food processor for making the filling. Learn from my mistakes, folks. That’s what I’m here for.
Whip it up for a few minutes till it gets nice and fluffy.
Next, add 3/4 cup sugar…
…2 eggs plus one egg yolk…
…3/4 cup eggnog…
…1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons flour…
…and one teaspoon vanilla extract. Switch on the mixer (or food processor, preferably) and let it get all nice and shmoove.
Now, here’s where I went wrong. I thought it was smooth enough. I assumed the tiny, tiny chunks of cream cheese would simply melt into the batter once I stuck it in the oven. I had mixed it for so long to try to dispel those little buggers that a bit of froth started forming on top, which I know from experience is not a good thing in the cheesecake-baking world.
Instead, I went ahead and baked the sucker. To do that, place the baked crust in a roasting pan.
Pour in the (hopefully non-lumpy) filling…
…and pour in enough hot water to the roasting pan that it goes halfway up the cheesecake pan.
Steam up your camera lens.
Carefully, and I mean carefully transfer the whole shebang into the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until it’s just set in the middle.
Let cool for about 30 minutes, and then cover and stick it in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to carve those suckers up to be eaten, dust ’em with a little nutmeg.
I should re-title this post, “RDG’s Lumpy Version of Martha Stewart’s Eggnog Cheesecake Bars.”
But lumpiness aside, they were delicious. Simply delicious.
The crust was perfect–buttery, crunchy, and held together well.
The lumps, although totally accidental, added nice texture to the filling which would otherwise have been creamy smooth.
I mean, really. Who wants smooth, lump-less cheesecake? Not I. I prefer mine with a little character.
And cheesecake batter without foam on top would not have rendered this beautiful brown top. Otherwise, it would have just looked like the top of a normal cheesecake. You know–white, flat, smooth. Boring.
I’m starting a revolution, my friends. No more smooth cheesecake. From here on out, it must be lumpy.
It’s my new signature.
“Jenny’s coming to the party tonight.”
“Oh, Lumpy Cheesecake Girl?”
Alright, not the most flattering nickname. But you get the idea.
They might scoff at my lumpy cheesecake, but by god they will eat it. Oh yes, they will eat it.
And they’ll love every last bite.
Happy 2nd Day of Bakemas!
Eggnog Cheesecake Bars (From Martha Stewart Living, December 2009, pg. 102)
- Cooking spray
- 12 graham crackers, finely ground (1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (4 tablespoons)
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon brandy (I’m not a brandy fan, so I didn’t use this)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup love
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Stir together graham crackers, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the eggs, yolk, eggnog, flour, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Beat until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Set pan in a roasting pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of baking pan. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove baking pan from water bath, transfer to wire rack. Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Cut into 1 1/2 by 3-inch bars. Lightly dust the tops of bars with nutmeg just before serving. Makes 18 bars.