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Juicy bite-sized goodness–blondie bars with a layer of rich (but lower fat) cheesecake filling, sprinkled with cinnamony pecan bits. We've found one of the easiest ways to use VANILLA SUGAR is to replace an equal amount of the regular sugar in a recipe with VANILLA SUGAR. Give it a try in this vanilla-rich recipe.

Cinnamon-Pecan Topping:

  • 2 TB. butter
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/3 Cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. CINNAMON (we used CHINA)
  • 1/3 Cup chopped pecans

Bar Base:

  • 1/2 Cup butter (1 stick) room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 2 8 oz. packages Neufchâtel cheese (this is a lower fat version of cream cheese which will be sitting right next to the cream cheese in the dairy case), room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cinnamon-Pecan Topping: Mix together the sugar, flour, and CINNAMON. Cut in the butter until crumbly. This is easiest if you use your hands. Add the vanilla and pecans and mix again. Set aside.

Bar Base: Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and then gently blend in flour mixed with salt. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13" glass pan and gently pat the dough into the pan-it will be a pretty thin layer. Place in the preheated oven and bake 15 minutes. While the base is baking, prepare the filling.

Cheesecake Filling: Beat Neufchâtel cheese with sugar until creamy and well blended. Add eggs, and beat until smooth. Remove the pan from the oven after 15 minutes. Pour the cheesecake filling over the bar base, then sprinkle with Cinnamon-Pecan mixture. Return to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes-once the filling starts getting golden and a bit puffy, it is pretty much done. Turn the oven off and prop the door open a few inches while the cake cools for the first 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until chilled-at least 2 hours. Rapid temperature changes can cause any cheesecake filling to crack or sink.

Once the cheesecake has cooled, slice into individual bars. Run your knife around the edge of the pan first to make cutting easier. As long as the bars are well chilled before cutting, they come out of the pan pretty easily.

Yield: 32 bars.
Prep. time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes total.

Single Strength Vanilla 4 oz. Bottle
China Tung Hing Cinnamon Ground 1.7 oz. 1/2 cup jar
Vanilla Sugar 3.4 oz. 1/2 cup jar

© 2008 Penzeys Spices. All rights reserved.