No joke: these cranberry orange white chocolate cheesecake bars nearly ruined all other cheesecakes for me. Under normal circumstances, I gravitate towards the chocolatiest desserts I can find. In fact, if it’s been more than a couple days since my last chocolate fix (even if that’s just a handful of chocolate chips), I start to get a little antsy. These cheesecake bars don’t have any (real) chocolate, but they won me over nevertheless and it was love at first bite, so much that I didn’t make any other type of cheesecake for several months afterward. Even though I first made and shared these bars in 2013, I’m still obsessing over them now, so I decided it was time to take some new photos to better convey their awesomeness!
Lightly spiced and flavored with smooth white chocolate and bright orange zest, these cheesecake bars perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the holidays. They also feature a ginger snap cookie crust (which is so delicious that I would happily eat it just on its own) and a tangy, vibrant cranberry sauce, so they’re decked out for the holidays literally from top to bottom! I added some sugared cranberries on a whim to give the bars an even more festive feel, but these are optional. They’re a little tart for my liking, to be honest, but I find their sparkly, snow-like appearance completely enchanting!
Like any cheesecake recipe (except the no-bake varieties), these bars do take some planning ahead. They need to sit in the refrigerator for at least three hours before you cut and serve them, but I promise, they’re well worth the wait! You can also make them a day or two in advance, so they’re a great option for Thanksgiving, when you’ve got multiple dishes competing for oven space. What’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year? Have you started planning yet?
- 14 ounces ginger snap cookies
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 packages (225g each) low-fat cream cheese
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 6 ounces white chocolate, melted
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- juice from 1 orange (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup water
- sugared cranberries (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor, pulse the ginger snap cookies until finely and evenly ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until mixed.
- Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper (the spray will help the paper stick to the pan, and the paper will allow you to lift the cheesecake out of the pan for cleaner cuts).
- Press the ginger snap mixture into an even layer in the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baked crust from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325 degrees.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Add the melted white chocolate, sour cream, nutmeg, and orange zest, and mix until combined.
- Carefully pour the filling into the crust and use an offset spatula to smooth the surface.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are firm but the middle jiggles slightly when you shake the pan. Set the pan on a wire rack and let it cool for 1-2 hours. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before cutting.
- Place all four ingredients for the cranberry sauce in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-8 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the liquid becomes syrupy. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Optional: using a food processor or blender, puree the cranberry sauce until smooth. If the sauce is thicker than you would like, add water or orange juice until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
- Spoon the sauce over individual servings and garnish with sugared cranberries if desired.
- I use Damn Delicious's method for making sugared cranberries.
- Please note that the total time does NOT include the time required for chilling.