hot cocoa cheesecake bars
These Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Bars are the perfect winter holiday desserts made of rich and creamy cheesecake indulgently swirled with hot fudge nestled on top of a crisp cookie crust! Each bite tastes exactly like your fave cup of hot chocolate drink- but made more decadent with crunchy Oreo cookie bits and gooey hot fudge sauce.
I admit I haven’t ventured into cheesecakes much over the years. I tried my hand at it with my Breakfast Cheesecakes with Lemon Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries and loved it so much! So this time, I am making a winter special and using cocoa and hot fudge to indulge my craving for a comforting hot cuppa but in cake form. These yummy dessert bars are gonna be a big hit with kids and adults alike!
Easy Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Bar Recipe
The 3-ingredient cookie crust and luscious chocolate-flavored cheesecake filling took me less than 15 minutes to make and assemble. The rest of the time is spent waiting (kinda impatiently, I must admit) for it to bake in the oven and chill in the fridge for a few hours. It’s ideal when you need a dessert that you can whip up in minutes, then just leave to bake and chill while you get busy with other stuff you need to take care of. You can even make it the day before and let it set in the refrigerator overnight if that is easier for you.
Making these cheesecake bars from scratch uses mainly basic baking ingredients that you should already have in your pantry. You’ll just have to grab the Oreos, cream cheese, and hot fudge if you do not have them.
For the crust:
- Oreo cookies- you can buy sandwich cookies and crush them finely using a heavy kitchen tool like a rolling pin or use a food processor. Or you can buy packed crushed Oreos to save time and effort.
- Butter- I used unsalted in this recipe to keep the crust from being too salty. If you have salted butter though, you can use that and forgo the kosher salt.
- Kosher salt
For the cheesecake:
- Cream cheese bars- softened at room temperature. You can use any brand you like, but make sure it is of good quality to get a smooth, velvety texture.
- Sugars- I used both granulated sugar and brown sugar for the cheesecake filling. They will help counter the bitterness of the cocoa powder by adding a sweet, caramel flavor to it. It will also help give the mixture a better texture and moisture.
- Cocoa powder- use an unsweetened dutch-process for best results. This will give the cheesecake a deeper color and a more intense chocolate flavor.
- Eggs- This will bind the ingredients together and gives it a richer flavor and smoother custard-like texture.
- Pure vanilla extract- adding a bit of this provides a nice aroma and taste to the filling.
- Kosher salt- I used a pinch to highlight the chocolate and vanilla flavors even more.
- Hot fudge sauce- Use store-bought, ready-to-use one, it is easier than making one from scratch. You can also use a chocolate ganache as an alternative.
How to Make Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Bars
It is easier to make than you think! You’ll have a gorgeous, bakery-quality cheesecake made in your own kitchen! All you have to do is make the crust, whip the cheesecake filling, bake and chill.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray an 8X8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the cookie crust. In a large bowl, mix the crushed Oreos, butter, and pinch of salt until combined. Take the Oreo mixture and press it gently into the prepared baking pan.
- Make the cheesecake filling. In a large mixing bowl beat together cream cheese, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Add the large eggs one at a time. Next, add vanilla extract and kosher salt. Beat until everything is combined. Fold in the fudge sauce and then pour the mixture over the Oreo crust.
- Bake. Bake the cheesecake for about 40 minutes or until slightly jiggly.
- Chill. Remove from the oven and then cool and refrigerate until firm about 3 hours overnight for best results
- Top and serve! Once firm, garnish with more hot fudge and sprinkle with crushed Oreos. Slice into bars and serve
- Use a different crust. Aside from using oreo cookies to make the crust, you can explore other options such as graham crackers, sugar cookies, digestives, shortbread cookies or other cream-filled cookie sandwiches will do.
- Have fun with toppings. Aside from topping it with more crushed Oreos and melted fudge, you can also use other fun toppings like marshmallows, nuts, fresh berries, chocolate chip cookies, caramel sauce, whipped cream, or crushed peppermint candies.
- Use a muffin pan. Instead of using a baking pan, you can make mini hot cocoa cheesecake cups by placing the layers in a cupcake/muffin pan. This is great if you are planning to serve them to your guests at parties- less mess for you to clean up!
- Use a baking press or spoon to press the buttered oreo mixture into the pan. Make sure that it is even and compact so the cheesecake filling does not seep into it.
- Use room temperature ingredients when making the cheesecake. Take the butter, cream cheese, and eggs out of the fridge at least half an hour before starting. This will result in a smoother, creamier cheesecake.
- Do not over-beat the cheesecake filling. Mix until everything is just incorporated, and fold (not mix) in the hot fudge to create nice swirling patterns.
- Do not over bake the cake. You might notice that the center of the cake is still soft and jiggly, and that is fine. It will continue to firm up as it chills in the fridge.
- It is best to let it chill overnight to allow the cake to firm up.
- Use a hot knife to cleanly slice them into nest squares or rectangles.
You can keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to a week. Just makes sure it is placed on a lidded container or wrapped tightly in foil or plastic wrap. You can also freeze the cheesecake bars by wrapping them in foil and placing them in freezer-friendly containers. They should be good for up to two months max. Thaw in the fridge until softened before serving.
Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Bars
- For the crust:
- 24 to 30 Whole Oreo cookies, crushed
- 6 tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch of kosher salt
- For the cheesecake:
- 2 8oz Plain cream cheese bars, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup Store-bought hot fudge sauce + more for garnish
- 1/2 cup Chopped Oreos, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8X8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the crushed Oreos, butter, and pinch of salt until combined. Take the Oreo mixture and press it gently into the prepared baking pan.
- Next, in a large mixing bowl beat together cream cheese, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Add the large eggs one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract and kosher salt. Beat until everything is combined. Fold in the fuge sauce and then pour the mixture over the Oreo crust.
- Bake the cheesecake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and then cool and refrigerate until firm about 3 hours or overnight for best results.
- Once firm, garnish with more hot fudge and sprinkle with crushed Oreos. Slice into bars andserve!