We’re here. Gingerbread season. Let’s do it up right!
I’ll be honest with you: I have very mixed feelings about the holidays. They seem to be an elaborate ruse to guide us toward winter with enthusiasm, where we’re left in January with bare trees, chilly mornings and frozen windshields. But on the other hand, those lights sure are pretty.
While I don’t celebrate Christmas, I can get down with gingerbread anything. That includes these gingerbread cookie cheesecake bars, which are both easy and festive. They’re also studded with cinnamon chips, one of my favorite baking inventions.
Here’s my pet peeve of the week: ready? People in parking lots with no manners.
When I was a kid, it was common courtesy (not to mention a safety practice) to drive through parking lots slowly, allowing for the possibility that either a person or a car would appear in your path. I very strongly remember a time when, if a person were pulling out of a parking spot, someone driving past them would respectfully stop and wait for them to finish coming out of the space, letting them go first.
Now, cars shoot through the lots at high speed, and if someone is coming out of a space, they typically swerve around that person and continue on their merry way. I’ve seen more than a few people almost killed by this practice. And aside from being dangerous, it’s also downright rude.
Plus, we all know how hard it is to see what’s behind us in parking lots. My head is always swiveling like crazy, trying to see everything at the same time. As much as I love Trader Joe’s, backing out of a parking space in that jammed little lot terrifies me. My car isn’t fancy enough for one of those rear-view cameras, which I hear really help.
This holiday season, let’s all begin by not just being kinder and more generous in person, but also by letting someone back out of their f-ing parking space. Can we all just do that for one person? Great. Rant concluded.
The last time I was at Trader Joe’s, I picked up some of their refrigerated gingerbread cookie dough. It formed the base for these lovely bars. On top went a layer of simple cheesecake batter with cinnamon chips, and I added some caramel sauce for bling. Mission accomplished. Yet another holiday bar option to celebrate and enjoy!
Bar cookies are my favorite, in case you haven’t figured that out by now. But they’re especially marvelous this time of year, because they pack and go very easily. Perfect for potluck holiday parties!
Whether or not you see winter looming this holiday season, be sure to fill it with good cookies and even better parking lot etiquette. It’ll guarantee you points with Santa or whatever higher power you believe in!
Gingerbread Cookie Cheesecake Bars
2 packages refrigerated gingerbread cookie dough (Trader Joe's)
8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened (I used light)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
caramel sauce, for drizzling
cinnamon chips (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Coat with cooking spray.
- Open the packages of cookie dough. Using all but three or four of the cookies (you can save for later to bake on their own), press the cookies into the pan evenly, patting them down to be flat and connected.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. While they're baking, make the cheesecake layer. In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and stir again until completely incorporated. Fold in the cinnamon chips.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the cookie base and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until set.
- Cool completely and cool overnight.
- When ready, cut into squares. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and sprinkle on more cinnamon chips.