Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

I don’t dread Monday mornings.  It’s hard to complain when my week starts with baking club treats. At KIPP AIM Academy our previous 6th grade non-fiction teacher came up with the brilliant baking club idea. Every week, two baking club members are assigned to bake a specific type of dessert. On Monday morning they anonymously put their entries in the teacher’s lounge. Baking club members then sample and vote to determine which item is the best overall. Alicia and I made this recipe for bar week, and they won! They involve several layers, making them time consuming to prepare. It’s definitely worth the time though. Chocolate chips, cookie dough, cheesecake and graham cracker crumbs all in one recipe is sure to please everyone.

Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Cookie Dough Ingredients
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

Filling Ingredients
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust Directions
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool

Cookie Dough Directions
Using an electric mixer , mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

Filling Directions
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended. Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack. Cool bars in pan completely, about an hour. To make the bars extra firm, harden them in the freezer. Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve.