This cheesecake bar recipe is swirled with homemade cranberry sauce for a sweet and tangy combo!
They are creamy yet light, and so easy to make. This cheesecake bar recipe is easier than making an entire cheesecake for sure!
Cranberry Cheesecake Bar Recipe:
On top of being so beautiful and festive, these cheesecake bars are tangy and delicious.
The cranberry swirl against the silky sweetness of the cream cheese makes for the perfect bite. They would be great to make for Thanksgiving, or any holiday party!
Today I’m joining up with other food bloggers, and social media influencers to create a recipe that features cranberries!
This time were going with a cranberry theme, just in time for Thanksgiving.
For this collab, I took my cheesecake recipe, tweaked it a bit, and turned it into a bar recipe swirled with homemade cranberry sauce.
HELLO BEAUTIFUL CHEESECAKE BARS!
Making the cranberry sauce:
I HIGHLY recommend making your own cranberry sauce.
I know the canned version is appealing, but this recipe is so easy to make- I made it while my son had a playdate over, and had to supervise a science kit activity- like that easy.
It also makes your house smell so yummy and cozy with only a few ingredients, and in about 15 minutes.
How to make the cranberry sauce:
Slice a few peels off of an orange and throw it in a medium size pot with the cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, and juice.
Bring it to a boil, mix, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped and released some juices. Let it cool and set it aside while you make the cheesecake.
Next make the graham cracker crust:
Pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs will make this recipe easier but you can crush your own too.
Either pulverize the graham crackers in your food processor or put them in a ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin.
Combine the crumbs with melted butter and sugar and mix until the mixture resembles something like wet sand.
Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with baking spray and press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom and sides. While it’s baking prepare the cheesecake batter.
How to make the cheesecake batter:
Firstly make sure all the refrigerated ingredients are at room temperature. This will ensure a silkier cheesecake texture. You can also sift the flour to make sure there are no clumps going into the batter.
Combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed to combine.
Scrape down the sides then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each addition. Add in the milk and vanilla and mix again.
I always mix the batter with a spatula after using the mixer just to make sure the bottom got mixed in well too because sometimes the mixer can’t reach it. Pour the batter into the 8×8 pan.
Now for the fun part!
How to make the cranberry swirl:
Using a teaspoon, dollop spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce all over the cheesecake batter. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, you are gonna swirl it after anyways.
Take a knife or a skewer and drag it through the dollops, connecting the dots to the next one. Go around and around, side to side, it doesn’t matter!
How to tell when cheesecake bars are done:
The bars are done when the edges are brown and the middle is still a little jiggly. You want a little jiggle in the middle, no worries, it will firm up in the fridge!
Let them cool on the counter for a bit and then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before slicing.
How to cut these cheesecake bars:
- Stick a sharp knife if a cut of hot water, wipe with a cloth and then go to cut the bars. The heat will help cut through smoothly.
- Wipe off the knife each time you go to make a cut to keep the slices clean.
How to freeze these cheesecake bars:
If you are freezing them right away don’t cut them yet.
When the pan is cool wrap it in heavy duty tin foil and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
I’m so grateful that this recipe turned out just the way I imagined, and also for this community of fellow food bloggers who come together for these types of collaborations to support each other. Wouldn’t trade them for anything!
Or these bars either hehehe.
To see some of the recipes for this month’s blogger collab featuring cranberries, make sure to check out the hashtag #YESYOUCRANBERRY on Instagram and these recipes below!
Square Meal Round Table’s Cranberry Orange Streusel Pie
Baking The Goods – Cranberry Apple Brown Butter Crumble Pie
Katiebird Bakes – Cranberry Sauce Breakfast Rolls
Sift & Simmer – White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Prickly Fresh’s: Cranberry Crostini with Prosciutto & Port Salut
Zestful Kitchen: Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Curd
Cheesecake Bar Recipe with Cranberry Swirl
- For the cranberry sauce:
- 1 16 oz bag frozen whole cranberries
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- The peel and juice of 1 large orange
For the graham cracker crust:
- 9 graham crackers/1 package crushed or about 1 1/2 cup crumbs
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the cheesecake batter:
- 2 8 oz. cream cheese packages at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cranberry sauce:
- In a medium sized pot combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Stir, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Remove the orange peel and set aside.
For the graham cracker crust:
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- Place the graham cracker crumbs in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the sugar and melted butter and stir to combine. The mixture should resemble wet sand.
- Spray an 8″ x 8” baking pan with baking spray and press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom and sides. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to help press it down hard and evenly.
- Bake for 10 mins until it smells like heaven from your oven and the crust is golden brown.
For the cheesecake:
- Lower your oven temperature to 325° F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium sized bowl add the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and flour.
- Mix by hand or on low-medium speed for 1 minute.
- Continue mixing on low-medium speed, then add 1 egg at a time, mixing for a few seconds in between additions.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Start the mixer again on low speed and add in the milk and vanilla.
- Continue to mix for 2 more minutes.
- Pour the batter into the 8”x8” pan on top of the graham cracker crust.
- Dollop teaspoon-fulls of the cranberry sauce all over the top of the cheesecake batter and use a skewer or knife to make swirls in the batter.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the edges of the bars are golden and the middle still has a little jiggle in the middle. (See notes below on how to ensure no cracks when baking!)
- Turn off the oven, open the door and allow the bars to cool inside. Remove and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Slice and enjoy!