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Elizabeth's Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

"I was raised in a Jewish family in Los Angeles, so I didn't celebrate a white Christmas," Elizabeth Colling says. But there was always eggnog. "I just love that flavor." She worked the holiday drink into cheesecake bars, dense on the bottom, silken on top. She spikes them with brandy for a grown-up taste and dusts them with fresh nutmeg.

  • Yield: Makes 18
Elizabeth's Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2009

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray, for pan
  • 12 graham crackers, finely ground (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Stir together graham crackers, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

  2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the eggs, yolk, eggnog, flour, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt; beat until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Set pan in a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of baking pan. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove baking pan from water bath, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  3. Cut into 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars. Lightly dust tops of bars with freshly grated nutmeg just before serving.

Cook's Note

Bars can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Reviews (18)

  • jefecita 22 Dec, 2013

    Great recipe! I substituted rum for the brandy, and used Nilla Wafers for the crust instead of graham crackers. I also just can't get enough nutmeg, so I added a bit of that to the crust as well!

    I only had an 8x8 pan so I used the surplus crust and batter in two mini loaf pans, which I baked at the same temperature for about 30 minutes- they also turned out great! Handy to know in case I make it again to give as gifts :)

  • Shoy Nelson 22 Jan, 2013

    These were SO good. Everybody loved them. To those who don't want to invest in a large bottle of brandy, tiny bottles, like sold on the airlines, are available behind the counter of every liquor store I've ever been in. Just enough. I wish eggnog was available ALL year round, just for this recipe. (yes, I know i could make it from scratch but I don't want to)
    Thank you Elizabeth & Martha

  • jennabuena 21 Dec, 2012

    I made this in a 9x11 and also did not have brandy. I used a gingersnap crust instead of graham cracker and it was incredible. I've used the gingersnap crust before on a pumpkin mousse dessert and it was everyone's favorite part. I also learned the water bath lesson because a couple splashes got in the batter..I freaked out but just swirled the batter around for consistency and prayed most of the 40 min. It was fine. I will try brandy next....they just go so well together.

  • Marielle22 17 Dec, 2012

    I did not have brandy at home and did not want to buy a huge bottle for a couple spoons out of it so I made it without. I added an extra bit of vanilla to try to compensate. I also used salted butter, even though every Martha recipe I use calls for unsalted. Turned out amazing!! Will be part of my baking giveaway this Christmas

  • Ceege 29 Nov, 2012

    Just found this recipe on MS site. I would like to make them for Christmas. Does anyone know if this recipe can be doubled and baked in an 11 X 9 oblong pan? Thanks for any responses.

  • phipi 22 Feb, 2012

    I found out that is much easier to use food processor instead of mixer to hand. le cream cheese. I added egg and gave it further spin for 30 sec. Then put the rest of the ingredients and gave a few pulse to mix it.

  • megansmaking 10 Dec, 2011

    These were pretty easy to make. Please, a word of caution though. If you have never used a water bath, be careful. I suggest putting the cheesecake pan into the roast pan and slowly adding a bit of water. I made the mistake of adding far too much water, then setting my cheesecake in the pan and it was submerged. I had to remake it. But, the second time it turned out great. I'm not sure what the best way is to do this, but it was tricky. Just, be careful! And, take your time.

  • ajwashurn 26 Apr, 2011

    I made these bars for christmas dinner at my in-laws last year and they were a hit. I LOVE eggnog and thought that the recipe captured all of the flavors perfectly.

    I will be making these again.

  • AmyFlavoristAndFoodie 15 Dec, 2010

    I made this in a 10" tart pan, no water bath, and baked for exactly 40 min. It turned out great! This recipe really captures the flavor of eggnog and I will be making every Christmas season. My friends really liked it too.

  • phalterman 13 Dec, 2010

    I made these, and my husband and i devoured it.
    However, i had forgot to buy gramh crackers, but happened to have a two packages of premade keebler mini grahmn pie crusts.. and used those.. they were perfect. I put them in a pan and filled the water to the underside of the pie tins. They came out great. I did bake them longer, cuz i like a browed crust on teh top of my cheesecake. (2-4minutes)

  • carlybabcock 12 Dec, 2010

    I made these last weekend for a Christmas party and they were devoured! I used fresh nutmeg and fresh vanilla and they turned out delicious...the only thing was that the crust was a bit crumbly.

  • jocasti 11 Dec, 2010

    Just discovered this recipe....sounds soo good! I love egg nog. Thanks for the hints!

  • nancijr 14 Mar, 2010

    how much longer is longer? I would love to make them

  • KarenAtl 26 Dec, 2009

    These need to bake MUCH longer than the recipe calls for. From what I could tell, they tasted great but that was just picking around the edges.

  • ahughes 26 Dec, 2009

    I made these as a treat for our family Christmas and they were a HUGE hit. Mine needed to bake a little longer than the recommended time, but other than that they were exceptionally easy to make and fantastic to eat! :)

  • catelovinlife 24 Dec, 2009

    i just made these on monday night (w/o the brandy) and the flavor was amazing... do keep an eye out though... mine definitely should have baked longer... but WOW! what an incredible flavor and so holidays!

  • Henrie 23 Dec, 2009

    I will make these without brandy. It is too expensive to buy just for one recipe.

  • sungoddess1982 22 Dec, 2009

    has any one tried these without the brandy? I don't have any and don't have time to go get it before the party.

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