I think it’s safe to say that after this past weekend, I’m now officially in the holiday spirit. True, I had already started listening to Christmas music long ago, I’d already bought a few gifts, and had already decorated two trees, but this weekend I helped decorate a real tree at my parents’ house, I watched my first Christmas movie of the season (Arthur Christmas – loved it!), I saw the CP Holiday Train (check their schedule to see if it’s coming to your city, it was amazing!), and the real kicker is that I started my holiday baking!
When I saw candy cane Oreos in the store, I knew I had to bake something with them. Okay, technically I didn't use Oreos, as the candy cane version isn’t available in Canada, but PC’s “Eat the Middle First” cookies are just as good, and since their name is longer, I’m just going to stick with calling them Oreos.
The first idea that popped into my head was using the candy cane Oreos to make cheesecake. I had made these cheesecake bars before and loved them, so I knew I would love them even more with a festive twist!
These are really easy to make – you use the candy cane Oreos in the crust and mixed into the batter, then throw in some peppermint extract and crushed candy canes for extra peppermint flavour! I love cheesecake bars because they’re portable and bite sized, and everyone I shared them with loved them too!
For some reason I’m really into making candy cane flavoured treats so far this year (though I have lots of ideas for gingerbread and eggnog flavours too!), so you can probably expect a few more peppermint baked goods to appear soon!
Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Makes about 16 bars
*Note, I used PC’s Candy Cane Eat the Middle First cookies instead of Oreos, and the package comes with 31 cookies, so rather than having to buy two boxes, I just reduced the amount of cookies I used in the crust and filling. I wrote the original suggested number of cookies in the ingredients list, with the amount I used (which worked fine) in brackets.
For the Crust:
23 Candy Cane Oreos (I used 21)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
12 oz (one and a half bricks) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
12 Candy Cane Oreos, roughly chopped (I used 10)
1 tablespoons finely crushed candy cane, optional
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang around the edges to easily lift the bars out of the pan later. Lightly spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
To make the crust, finely crush the Oreos in a food processor. Add the melted butter and pulse until cookie crumbs are moistened. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and press crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then set aside. Leave the oven on.
To make the filling, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar until well combined. Mix in the sour cream, peppermint extract, and salt. Beat in the egg and egg yolk until incorporated. Stir in the chopped oreos and crushed candy cane with a rubber spatula. (Note that the crushed candy cane may slightly tint the cheesecake pink, so if you don’t want that effect than you can leave it out. I liked the extra sprinkle of colour it added!)
Pour the cheesecake batter over the baked crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly jiggles in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool at room temperature for about one hour, then refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours (I chilled mine overnight).
To cut the bars, pull the entire cheesecake out of the pan by lifting the foil edges, then peel away foil and slice into bars. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.