Happy Valentine’s Day fellow Food Hippies! I have a lovely treat for you guys. It’s two of my most favoritest food things in the whole wide world combined together. Cheese and cake. Ha! Kidding. Make that cheesecake and Oreos. “Whaaa? I thought you were REAL Food Girl??” Don’t worry, I am. And I did not use real Oreos in this recipe. Hence the name of the recipe: Faux-reo Cheesecake Bars. It rhymes with Oreo, but not with GMO soy, HFCS and other nasty ingredients. You guys should be VERY happy that the original recipe that I had planned to share with you today had major flaws that could not be fixed even though I tried three times. And I now hate pink popcorn. Just in case you wanted to know.
Before becoming Real Food Girl: Unmodified, I ate my fair share of Oreos. I loved them and when they came out with Golden Oreos, I was beside myself with glee! There was just something about the crispy cookies hugging that addictive frosting “stuff” that made me a very happy girl, and, if those Oreos happened to be “Double Stuff” well then, even better! Since learning about all the harmful ingredients that our government and big food companies have no problem allowing in our foods, I just cannot in good conscience eat Oreos ever again. Part of me is sad, because there aren’t any other knock-offs that have the same flavor. The homemade ones are good, but they just aren’t the same in my opinion. I’m not sad that I get to avoid HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or GMO soy, or high oleic canola and soybean oils, enriched flour, artificial flavors, GMO corn starch used to make Oreos. Nope. Not sad about that at all.
Just because I’m not eating Nabisco Oreos anymore doesn’t mean we can’t all partake in the rich, creamy goodness that is cheesecake in bar form. Oh.Muh.Gursh! These are SO good. The first time I ever had Oreo Cheesecake was in culinary school. Oh my! That was some good cheesecake. I was going to share that recipe with you guys, but it’s written in grams (freaking metric system) and you need a kitchen scale in order to make the recipe. I’ve already converted one recipe for you, and I was not about to break out the trigonometry calculator for a darn Valentine’s Day cheesecake recipe! Uh-uh. Not-gonna-happen. Maybe some day I will. If I’m properly bribed or begged.
TSM makes me a cheesecake each year for my birthday almost every year. That’s how much I like it. It is one of my favorite desserts. It would probably be a part of my last meal if I were ever in a position to have one. You can never have too many cheesecake recipes. Never. This will not be the last cheesecake recipe I post on this blog so I’ll reserve some of my jubilation regarding cheesecake for those posts.
The recipe states to let these bars cool for 2 hours to room temperature and then set in the fridge for 3-24 hours. By the time 5 hours was up all my natural day light was gone so I didn’t feel right about posting another low-quality photo in poor lighting. I did shoot a couple of pictures of the bars fresh out of the oven. They do look puffy, but the bars “deflated” some and they look like normal cheesecake now. I’ll post pictures of the finished sliced product later today so that you can see just how amazingly delicious these really look. I didn’t want to risk ruining them by cutting into them too soon, so I knew you’d understand the lack of a snazzy picture for a couple of hours.
**Remember, we’re baking so make sure ALL your ingredients are room temperature.**
All ingredients used were organic or GMO-Free (that is as long as Trader Joe’s is being honest*)
Faux-reo Cheesecake BarsRecipe Adapted From: Brown Eyed Baker Makes: 12-16 bars Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40-50 minutes Total Time: 6 hours (with cooling and setting in the fridge)
Preheat oven to 325 F
For the Crust:
- 24 organic off-brand “Oreo” cookies
- 2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
- 12 ounces organic cream cheese, at room temperature (I cut mine into 1 inch cubes and put it on a plate. It will come to room temperature faster)
- 1 cup organic cane sugar (aka white/granulated sugar)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature (I place mine in a bowl of very warm water for about 10 minutes to bring them to room temp)
- 6 tablespoons organic sour cream
- 2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 10-12 organic off-brand “Oreo” cookies broken into bite sized pieces. The original recipe called for 12, I think 10 is more than plenty! The entire crust is already make from these cookies- you need to enjoy some of that cheesecakey part!
1. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing it to hang over two of the sides.
2. Make the crust: Put the “Oreos” in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they become fine crumbs. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse a few times until the butter is mixed in and all of the crumbs are moist. Dump the crumbs into your prepared baking dish and press firmly into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Make the Cheesecake: In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar one-quarter cup at a time and beat until incorporated.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and mix until completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix on low-speed until fully combined.
5. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos by hand and then pour the batter over the baked crust. Make sure you smooth it into an even layer. Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly, about 40 to 50 minutes. Mine was done in 40 minutes and it looked puffy/spongy. This is normal. Once it cools and sets it will start to deflate a bit.
6. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Next cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or up to 24 hours) before serving.
7. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the parchment or foil “handles”. Slice into 12-16 bars and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You might as well just cut the bars into 4 equal sized servings because you know you want to!
*Impactful thoughts on the “Faux-reos” I purchased to make this recipe:
*I bought a box of Trader Joe’s “Oreos” to make this recipe because although I have a recipe for homemade Faux-reos, I did not have the funds in my food budget to make both the homemade cookies AND this cheesecake. I don’t believe that I will never buy TJ’s fake Oreos again. The first reason is because I really need to eliminate boxed snacks (processed foods) from our home. We have reduced the amount of packaged food drastically, but from time to time, some organic vanilla wafers must be enjoyed. I’m not opposed to partaking in high quality organic packaged foods, but it shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence. I short, I’m very pleased with the impactful progress that we’ve made in curtailing our consumption of packaged foods, I also don’t think buying them from time to time is necessarily a bad thing. And just so that you understand, I mean organic packaged foods that have the NonGMO Project label on them.
The second reason I won’t purchase this particular brand again is that after reading this blog post from my friend at GMO Awareness, my Spidey senses started to tingle and I truly felt that I could no longer believe that the ingredients in Trader Joe’s labeled foods are in fact completely free of GMOs. Call it Jedi powers, or ESP or Spidey senses, whatever. I simply don’t buy it. I think companies have proven that we cannot trust them to be honest when it comes to labeling the actual ingredients for any given item. I’m not willing to continue to blindly trust Trader Joe’s. If they would just break their vow of silence and allow the NonGMO Project to verify that their TJ’s brand is in fact, free of all GMOs, then a lot of people would be very happy. I still really wanted to share this recipe because I knew it was going to be seriously good and because you guys deserve a rich, tasty, awesome dessert recipe. Also, there are other fake Oreos out there, like Newman-O’s and Whole Foods probably has a 365 brand of Oreos.
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