If you don’t like the taste of coffee, you can stop right here.
While some coffee-flavored desserts are mixed together with things like chocolate or butter that temper the flavor, there is no buffer in this recipe. It’s a coffee wallop, if ever there was one. I have never been a coffee drinker, as it’s just too bitter for me unless I include a truckload of sugar and cream. At that point, I’d much rather eat my calories than drink them (pass the chocolate chip cookie, please). However, I am a huge fan of coffee-flavored desserts. Go figure, so weird, right?! I’m quite sure it just might have something to do with that whole sugar notion.
While cheesecakes are one of my favorite dessert categories, making them can sometimes be overwhelming for beginners and time-consuming for everyone. Thus, the cheesecake bar! It mixes up very quickly and is significantly less muss and fuss than baking an entire cheesecake.
These babies have espresso powder in both the crust and the filling, so there is no meek or subtle flavor here. The cheesecake bars are smooth and creamy and taste just like a cappuccino; all you need is a dollop of whipped cream on top and dessert is ready!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and espresso powder. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the mixture and use a fork to stir until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crust into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes; the crust should be light brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Make the Filling: In a small bowl, stir together the espresso powder, heavy cream and vanilla extract until smooth and the espresso powder is dissolved, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the espresso mixture and beat to combine, then add the egg and beat until everything has been thoroughly combined.
Spread the filling over the prepared crust and bake until the filling appears set, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours. Cut into bars and serve with whipped cream. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.