Brown Butter Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Brown Butter Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars might be a mouthful to say but I guarantee they will win you over with just one bite. Any recipe name that features the word ‘butter‘ twice is a winner in my book. I’d made this recipe so many times but I had to try it again with brown butter. Of course, I think everything is much better with brown butter. The brown butter is really what sets these Brown Butter Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars apart from all the other recipes out there. The toastiness from the brown butter just elevates the nutty flavour of the peanut butter so well. It should come as no surprise that brown butter and peanut butter are literally a match made in heaven.

Notes:
*All ingredients (especially the cream cheese and eggs) should be at room temperature for best results.
*The cheesecake is baked in a water bath, which ensures that the top does not crack.
*The cheesecake needs to set for at least 4 hours in the fridge after baking. It will not slice properly if not allowed to set.
*The cheesecake can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge. Leftovers will last 4-5 days in the fridge, best stored in an air-tight container.
Notes on Ingredients:
*Peanut Butter: I use homemade peanut butter so I can control the amount of sugar in the bars. I make my peanut butter by processing warm roasted peanuts in a food processor with lots of salt. Feel free to use store-bough peanut butter, but please note that this will result in a much sweeter cheesecake, so you might want to cut back on the granulated sugar.
*Biscuits: For added peanut flavour, I love using peanut butter cookies. Alternatively you can add roasted peanuts to graham crackers or digestive biscuits before crushing them up. You can also use just biscuits, but I think the peanuts in the crust really heighten the nutty salty flavour.
*Cream Cheese: You really want to use the best cream cheese you can find for these bars. I love Philadelphia Cream Cheese for cheesecakes. If you can’t find this particular one, I recommend using a cream cheese block instead of the stuff that comes in tubs. Save that to spread on your bagels.

Ingredients:

  • 180 g peanut flavoured biscuits (see recipe notes)
  • 35 g salted butter
  • 285 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 65 g granulated sugar
  • 90 g smooth peanut butter (see recipe notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 7×7 in square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an over-hang so the bars are easy to remove once baked.
  • Start by making the brown butter. Add the butter to a small saucepan over low heat. Cook the butter, whisking constantly until the butter has turned a brown colour. The milk solids will separate and turn dark, and the butter will give off a nutty aroma. Take off the heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl. Leave to cool slightly, for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, crush your biscuits in a zip-lock bag or a food processor. Add to a mixing bowl and pour the browned butter on top. Once mixed, the mixture should resemble wet sand.
  • Transfer to the bottom of the baking pan and press down in an even layer. Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass to really pack it tightly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • To prepare the cheesecake filling, add the cream cheese and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Mix using an electric whisk for about 2-3 minutes or until creamy and light.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then the vanilla, and salt. Then whisk in the peanut butter until combined. Finally, add in the flour and mix.
  • Pour cheesecake batter on top of the biscuit base. Tap the pan on your counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Place the pan inside a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan, up to 3/4 of the way up the smaller pan.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and just slightly wobbly in the middle.
  • Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and then chill in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight) before slicing.

Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate and Cherries

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I absolutely love this cake for its deep, toasty notes. It’s a cake, beautifully light, infused with brown butter and studded with bitter bits of chocolate.

The brown butter needs to be prepared ahead of time as it takes time to solidify.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 150 g butter
  2. 180 g all purpose flour
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. a pinch of salt
  5. 120 ml milk
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 150 g granulated sugar
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 70 g dark chocolate, chopped

For the chocolate frosting:

  1. 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
  2. 75 ml hot water
  3. lots of ice
  4. handful of fresh cherries

Method:

  1. Place butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until it melts completely. Continue cooking, stirring continuously until the butter turns brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Pour the butter  into a heat-proof bowl and chill until almost solidified.
  2.  Preheat oven to 180°C . Line an 8 inch cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, set aside. Mix milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, set aside.
  4. Whisk the browned butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  5.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Alternately add flour mix and milk mixture. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
  7. Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from tin to cool completely.
  9. To make the frosting, add the chocolate into a large  heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  Leave the chocolate to melt, then stir until smooth and silky. Remove from heat.
  10. Pour the hot water into the bowl of chocolate and mix until nice and smooth.
  11. Place the bowl in a dish filled with ice cubes.  Using an electric whisk, and quickly whisk the chocolate and water mixture thoroughly and quickly until stiff peaks form.
  12. If you don’t get peaks, melt some more chocolate and whisk in quickly.
  13. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and top with the cherries.

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