I’ve never had much claim to the label “normal American” as my family has never been very normal, and these days I’m feeling especially strange.
Apparently moving to a foreign country, not speaking the language, and not getting out much will do that to you. Trust me, feeling like an alien is only fun some of the time. Although I don’t feel it daily, I think I’ve really changed over the last few years.
Okay, but even if I’m not normal, I think I have a pretty good idea what stereo-typical American family would look like and the picture in my mind always includes a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
That’s probably one of the only things my family still has in common with US culture, chocolate chip cookies. As long as I can remember, my mom’s chocolate chip cookies have been the favorite treat in our house and in our circles. She taught me how to make them when I was still small enough to sit on the counter and it’s one of the few recipes that I haven’t adapted. I know it by heart and it never fails. I bet if I could get a count of how many of balls of dough I have rolled in my life, it would shock you and me.
In fact, when I first decided to start a blog I seriously considered blogging about every possible variation you could do of a chocolate chip cookie. However, I’m too indecisive to do that and I changed my mind when I started thinking about all of the delicious things I could also blog about. You have to admit it’s a good idea though, right?
This recipe is just another one of said chocolate chip cookie variations. When you make something as often as I make them it’s hard not to sneak them into a recipe now and then, but this is one of my favorites. I know, it’s not super original and there are like a million and one recipes out there. All I know is that I’m rarely completely satisfied with a recipe but I can’t imagine anything about these that could be improved upon. The marriage between the sweet and slightly salty cookies with the tart cheesecake layer is pure perfection.
I’ll just have to let you guys judge for yourselves, but I really think you need to try these. They as easy, if not easier, than making a batch of chocolate chip cookies and they are a major crowd pleaser.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars (Vegan)
If it's even possible for a chocolate chip cookie to be improved upon then this is it. These cheesecake filled bars will have the guests coming over again and again.
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks Miyoko's "butter" or any dairy free butter cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons coconut cream *see note
- 3 tablespoons applesauce or pumpkin puree
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 1 cup vegan "cream cheese" softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup coconut cream *see note
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease a 13x9 inch glass pan. Cream butter and sugars together in bowl of stand mixer (or with hand mixer). Scrape sides of bowl and add coconut cream and applesauce; beat until well combined. Add vanilla, soda, and salt. Add flour one cup at a time and beat after each addition but just until combined. (If you are using a hand mixer you may have to hand stir the last cup of flour into the dough.) Stir in chocolate last, just until combined.
Scrape out mixer bowl into a medium bowl and save mixer bowl for making cheesecake layer. (Yay, for less dishes to wash) Divide dough in half and press one half into prepared pan. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until top starts to darken and slightly brown; remove from oven and cool while you make cheesecake filling.
Beat "cream cheese" in mixing bowl with whisk attachment until completely smooth and lump free, scrape bottom of bowl and mix longer to be sure it's all smooth. Add sugar and starch and mix until creamed, then beat in lemon juice, coconut cream, baking powder, vanilla, and salt; mix until combined.
Pour cheesecake filling over base cookie layer and crumble remaining half of chocolate chip cookie dough over top. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the center of bars is lightly browned on top. Remove and cool for about 30 minutes then place pan in fridge and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut into squares and serve chilled.
*If you have trouble finding coconut cream at your local grocery store it's completely fine to use full-fat coconut milk and scrape the cream off of the top. Just be sure that it's cold enough to separate.