The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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White Chocolate Cheesecake Squares with Strawberry Glaze

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Prep:

Cook:

Level: Easy

System:

25

Description

Could cheesecake get much sweeter?

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • ¼ cups Cocoa Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Espresso Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 pinch (generous) Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
  • 8 ounces, weight White Chocolate
  • 16 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, At Room Temperature
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, At Room Temperature
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • FOR THE STRAWBERRY GLAZE AND WHITE HEART:
  • ½ cups Seedless Strawberry Jam (I Used Smuckers Brand)
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Fold a 16″ long piece of foil into an 8″x16″ strip and place in an 8″ square baking pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil placing it in the opposite direction so that you are lining the pan completely. Spray bottom of foil lightly with nonstick spray and set aside.

For the crust:
In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir to completely combine. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Place pan in freezer to chill.

For the filling:
In a small bowl, gently melt the white chocolate in the microwave, taking care to not let it scorch. Just heat it for 30 seconds at a time, stir in between each additional 30 second increment and stop once it’s almost smooth. Set aside to cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until just combined. Add the cooled white chocolate (you can place in the refrigerator for a bit if it’s still warm) and vanilla, and beat again. Spread mixture evenly over the cooled crust and tap the pan gently on the counter to settle it in.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until cheesecake wobbles just slightly through the center, and the edges are just a bit golden. The edges will puff up when baking, and then settle back down once cooled. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the strawberry glaze:
Put the jam into a bowl. Briskly stir the jam until it is very smooth. Then spread evenly onto the top of the cheesecake. There will be a small raised edge of cheesecake filling around the pan sides, which will get cut off if you want to achieve the perfect red tops on the squares. Don’t spread jam onto the raised cheesecake edges.

Place pan in refrigerator to cool completely, 4 hours or overnight.

Once set, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan by pulling up on the foil lining. Cut off the raised edges (eat them and enjoy!) and then slice the cake into squares, in your desired size. I cut mine into 25 squares. To get clean cuts, dip your knife into a warm glass of water and then wipe knife clean after each cut.

For the white hearts:
In a small bowl or cup, stir together the powdered sugar and milk. You want it to be pretty thick. Place in pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip. I used a Wilton #2 tip. Pipe a heart shape onto the center of each cheesecake square. Once this white frosting has been piped onto the jam, it can be coaxed with a toothpick to perfect the heart shape.

Note: The little hearts, admittedly, take a little patience. But they are fun. And the cuteness factor is huge. But, if you’re not up for that sort of thing, you could easily top each cheesecake square with a candy heart or a random drizzling of frosting. Or just leave them unadorned, all red and shiny and gorgeous.

Store refrigerated. Can be prepared the day prior to serving.

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