Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

How do you start your day?

Mine always begins with the biggest physical shock possible to my system. I stumble out of bed (no snooze, get right up), throw on my workout clothes, and immediately start moving. It’s always a little odd knowing, as I lie in bed for those last precious seconds, that within a few minutes I’ll be moving at top speed.

It sounds awful to almost everyone I know, but I love getting my body going before my mind. As I do my routine, my mind slowly wakes up and catches up with the rest of me. And there’s something really gratifying about getting all those muscles firing before most people are even awake.

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

Plus, then I have the rest of the day to eat cheesecake bars! No, really. If I kick my own butt for an hour every morning, you can bet your own derriere that I’m eating dessert every day. Not all day. Just every day.

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

These bars in particular are quite the reward for any early-morning workouts. Butterscotch is neglected and that is so unfair, because it’s one of the best dessert flavors out there. I was going to do this as a cheesecake before Lindsay did it, and because she’s better than I am, I adapted my idea to this.

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

These might be the most addictively sticky cheesecake bars I’ve ever made. Yes, you’ll need a fork for that butterscotch ganache top, and it’s worth the extra effort. If you’ve never been to butterscotch heaven, this is it!

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

There are actually three layers of butterscotch in these bars. The first appears in the graham cracker crust. One of my favorite baking hacks of all time is melting baking chips into the crusts, so the butterscotch chips are part of the base. They also appear in the cheesecake filling, and finally, in the ganache on top.

Ganache sounds complicated, but it’s really easy. You simply melt the butterscotch chips with some heavy cream in the microwave, stir until smooth, and then pour on top. It chills very nicely indeed, and that makes the glossy, enviable topping!

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

Truth be told, these are very sweet. Bar squares are just right for something like this. You can eat your cheesecake and not undo your workout!

We all start our days differently. By all means, share your favorite way to wake up! But mine is to exercise first and sugar later. I know that seems contradictory, but we’re all human, and we’re allowed our inconsistencies. And we’re definitely allowed our cheesecake!


Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars


1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
8 oz. cream cheese (I used light), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light sour cream
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butterscotch chips and butter for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add the brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs, stirring until moistened.
  3. Press the crumbs tightly and evenly into the prepared pan with a spatula. Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
  4. While the crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake filling. Beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, egg, and vanilla, beating until completely smooth. Fold in the butterscotch chips.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the bars sit in there until the oven cools.
  6. When the bars are cool, make the ganache. Melt the butterscotch chips and the heavy cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until completely smooth. Pour over the cheesecake bars.
  7. Chill completely, anywhere from 3 hours to overnight. Cut into squares. Serve with forks!





I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Mir – I like your mantra about being able to eat dessert because you exercise. I definitely have adopted that same mentality over the years. Sometimes, when my boyfriend and I workout together, I’ll suggest frozen yogurt or a cookie for a reward, and he doesn’t want any part of it. I look at him like he’s crazy seeing as though he eats dessert when he hasn’t worked out. I think if I made these though, he’d totally go weak-in-the-knees and devour a few. 🙂
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Funfetti Sugar CookiesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I just believe in balance, Erin! If I’m going to bake and eat decadent desserts, I should balance that with healthy life habits…and fruits/veggies!

  2. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Oh I wish I could get up before work and exercise, but I already get up at 4:45am! But I’m loving these cheesecake bars! That butterscotch on top looks so decadent and delish. I think these might just convince me to get out of bed extra early!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Mexican RiceMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I hear you, friend! I get up at 4:15 and luckily, I have a short commute, so that extra time goes to exercise. Otherwise, it would be too crazy.

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    oh my gawd, Mir. . all that butterscotch!!!!! LOVE!!! and I wish I exercised in the mornings. . so much better for you. . I am a morning person and am up at the crack of dawn but usually exercise in the afternoons or evenings. . helps me to decompress too. . pinned these fabulous cheesecake bars! Swooning!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Strawberry Orange MuffinsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I think if I tried to exercise later, someone would have to peel me off the wall, Alice! I’m only good first thing. Then I get super worn down. Thanks for pinning!

  4. Manali @ CookWithManali

    God that glaze looks so tempting, I swear my mouth is watering just looking at it!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Lemon Crepes with Blackberry SauceMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It was a pretty rocking topping, Manali! I love ganache!

  5. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    I exercise before treating myself, too! I hate the idea of exercising just to burn calories, so I feel like if I work out and then eat, it’s a positive thing, rather than a negative ‘you HAVE to run because you ate a cookie’ type of thing 🙂 These look so so soooo good. Omg. The drippy butterscotch, I’m dying.
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…Frothy Monkey {Nashville, TN}My Profile

    1. Mir

      I’ve come to the realization that I work out to be healthier in general, and you’d be amazed at the difference it makes as you get older in keeping everything working properly. I’d work out even if I had a rock star metabolism. It’s the best! Thanks, Manali!

  6. Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat.

    Being able to eat dessert guilt free is for sure one of the reasons I exercise every day! I love to exercise, but I also love my sweets and so I exercise even if I don’t feel like it! I don’t manage the early morning thing more than once or twice a week though, but I keep thinking I should do it every day, at least then it’s done and out of the way! These cheesecake bars look incredible!
    Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. recently posted…Spinach PestoMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s nice to have it out of the way early so that the rest of the day can be unpredictable and more spontaneous. Thanks, Stacey!

  7. Cyndi - My Kitchen Craze

    I so looked up to you for working out first thing in the am. I can’t do that. I try to workout around 2-3 in the afternoon, but then most times I am so tired. 😉 These look fantastic. I love bars and cheesecake and now I wish I have 5 of those babies to eat!
    Cyndi – My Kitchen Craze recently posted…Chicken & Sweet Potato EnchiladasMy Profile

    1. Mir

      That’s why I have to do it first thing before I can stop myself. Later I’m just SO tired! If I do it early, not fully awake yet. It helps!

  8. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Wait. We’re not supposed to eat dessert ALL day because we worked out? Er….oops. 😉

    I love these so much!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Chocolate Granola BarkMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Believe me, Dorothy, I’ve had those days. Dessert is so much more exciting than real food. Thanks much!

  9. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I always workout first thing in the morning. I like to get it out of the way so I can’t make excuses throughout the day to not doing it.

    Butterscotch always reminds me of my grandma. She always had some.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Things That Happen When Developing Recipes For A Book by DanniiMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I could not agree more, Dannii! Oh, I love those food associations with family. I associate other things with my own grandmothers, but those are powerful!

  10. Heather - Butter & Burlap

    Good for you for getting up and working out! I got burnt out on getting up early for workouts during my athlete days, but since I love dessert, I have to fit in a workout at some point during the day! These bars look soooo delicious, and your photos are amazing! What kind of camera do you use? Great recipe!
    Heather – Butter & Burlap recently posted…Lemon Pepper Chicken SpreadMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Heather! If you’re an athlete, you’ve done your time!
      And thanks for admiring the photos. I’ve been working on them a lot. I use an EF50mm f/2.5 compact macro lens (gets nice and close for food) on a Canon EOS Rebel TLI.

  11. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks

    Mir, you are so right! Butterscotch is totally neglected. I always seem to forget how much I love it. These bars look fabulous with all that butterscotch going on!
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks recently posted…Salmon Poached in Riesling SauceMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Rachelle! I’ve got to check out your salmon. The idea of Riesling sauce is very exciting!

  12. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    I had to take a few minutes to wipe the drool from chin. Sorry about that. These pics girl – seriously SO FAB! These bars are right up my alley!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted…Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip BrowniesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks so much, Trish! I’ve been working on improving the pics, so that means a lot to me!

  13. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    There is nothing like butterscotch. I could bathe in it it is so good. I adore this recipe!
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) recently posted…Spinach and Bacon Hash Brown QuicheMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks much, Jocelyn! Butterscotch is its own happy flavor!

  14. Danielle

    I wish I had the motivation to wake up early and exercise! It always feels great when I do, but I tend to put it off until the evenings. Buuttt I could totally go for an early morning exercise if I could have one (or three) of these cheesecake bars after! These look amazing, Mir.
    Danielle recently posted…Skinny Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Danielle! I try not to think about motivation and just go, like it’s brushing teeth or something. The pain wears off quickly. 😉

  15. Kate @ Framed Cooks

    I am the world’s WORST exerciser (I know, hanging head in shame) but knowing that there is butterscotch heaven at the other side…that might actually get me moving. These are just plain gorgeous!!
    Kate @ Framed Cooks recently posted…Molasses Cookie Ice Cream SandwichesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      You are too kind, Kate! I appreciate your words of support. They mean a lot. And as for exercising, meh. We’re all good at different things!

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