T-minus one day before Thanksgiving. If you're hosting, I hope you have your menu set. Actually, I hope you have a good head start on all of your cooking and prep. As for me, I'm not hosting, but I'll be contributing the stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes to our family's lunchtime feast. We'll go to my in-laws' house for dinner, and I'm bringing roasted veggies and a pumpkin cheesecake tart with gingersnap crust for Thanksgiving 2.0.
If we're honest with ourselves, one of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is the entire fridge full of leftovers. I truly do love turkey day leftovers almost as much as the meal itself. I enjoy maybe one to two meals of straight up reheated dinner, and then beyond that I will try and reinvent everything as best I can. These turkey cranchiladas are a perennial favorite around here (we actually had them for dinner Tuesday night!). And this pulled turkey sandwich with cranberry BBQ sauce is anther standby - especially if you use smoked turkey. But if you are looking to make another dessert - and really, who isn't - use your leftover cranberry sauce to make cheesecake bars.
You might be tired of pumpkin pie by now, and these cheesecake bars are a nice change of pace. They start with a chocolate cookie crust, topped with a sweet and creamy cheesecake layer, and finally finished with a swirl of cranberry sauce. They are the perfect blend of sweet-tart, and they are totally irresistible. I initially planned to use a graham cracker or gingersnap crust, but I think the chocolate is a great and unexpected twist. With the festive swirl of cranberry sauce, they look quite festive for Christmas as well. A perfect treat to move us from Thanksgiving into Christmas.
I hope you all have the loveliest of Thanksgivings!
Cranberry-Swirl Cheesecake Bars
adapted from these raspberry-lemon cheesecake bars
- 20 oreo sandwich cookies
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
- 16 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 1-2 Tbs water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line a 9x13 inch baking dish with foil, leaving an overhang on the long sides. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
Add the cookies to the food processor, and process until the cookies become crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl with the melted butter. Stir to combine well. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, using your hands or the bottom of a glass. Bake 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer is fine), beat the cream cheese and sour cream together at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, and mix 2-3 minutes at medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition, then mix in vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the crust and use a spatula to smooth the top.
In the now-empty food processor, puree the cranberry sauce with water until it is smooth. Drop spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce over the cheesecake batter, then use a toothpick to create swirls over the top.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is just set and no longer jiggles in the middle. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. To serve, lift the cheesecake from the pan using the foil overhang, then slice into squares with a clean, sharp knife.