Whenever I’m feeling kind of meh, I have a few options. A nap isn’t usually possible (there are small children about), so I can either try to sneak episodes of whatever TLC show is new on Netflix without the li’l ones noticing, or I can make a pie. It’s hard to hide what my iPad is doing, so I think the pie wins this one.
Okay, Valentine’s Day. I’m ready for ya!
Who am I kidding? I’m ready all year long! Nothing is more fun than the hearts and flowers and chocolate. Especially the chocolate. And the treats! I really can’t get enough. Too bad Kenny hates Valentine’s Day. More on that some other time.
These red velvet cheesecake bars should get your holiday going. The bottom is a super-easy cake mix cookie bar, and the top a simple layer of cheesecake. And let’s not forget the heart sprinkle bling.
I’m going to be very honest here: I’m not a red velvet person. To me, if you’re using cocoa powder, put a lot in the mix, not just a trace. And the whole red food dye thing really throws me. But I can see that it all sure is pretty!
Besides, whenever I bake something I’m not crazy about myself, I just bring it into work and people devour it there. All my red velvet fanatics were pretty happy about these bars, so I’m gonna assume they were the essence of red velvet happiness. And I did enjoy the cheesecake top.
It’s important for me to experiment with flavors that aren’t my favorite, or otherwise I’m not much of a baker. It’s just so hard to taste test flavors that I naturally dislike. It’s a lot like teaching a book in my English class that I’m not so crazy about. On an intellectual level, I can recognize the worth of a book or a dessert I dislike, but personally, just…no.
It’s like snow. I think I used to like it, and I appreciate it aesthetically from a whole “wow is Mother Nature powerful” point of view. But boy, do I hate it. Last night the D.C. area got a measly inch, but because our local governments were totally focused on the two feet of snow headed this way Friday night, they ignored the one inch and didn’t treat the roads.
Result? Chaos. It took people 9 hours to get home from relatively short distances. It’s not the first time this kind of SNAFU has occurred, either. I got to stay up all night waiting for Kenny to get home. So yeah, snow is nice, or something. I just don’t like it. Give me a beach every day!
And give me a classic brownie with the beach. But today, red velvet will win!
These are an easy way to give someone a cute Valentine’s surprise. The bottom layer mixes up in literally seconds, and the top is a simple cheesecake. No bells and whistles, unless you count the sprinkles. How could you not love those?
When all is said and done, you have a bar worth remembering. And if it’s not your cup of tea, you can still appreciate how pretty red velvet is. Or snow. Doesn’t mean we have to marry them!
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine all of the red velvet cookie base ingredients in a medium bowl until a stiff dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the dough is baking, make the cheesecake. 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.
- Gently spread the cheesecake batter over the partially cooked bars. The cookie dough underneath will cave in a little with the weight. Just do your best to get the batter evenly distributed.
- Bake the bars for an additional 20-25 minutes until golden at the edges and set. Cool completely.
- Refrigerate overnight and cut into squares.