I have been participating in a monthly dessert challenge hosted by The Lady Behind The Curtain and have really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone to try new ingredient combinations. Unfortunately, due to the hostess’ travel plans, the December challenge has been cancelled. I had already made my choice and it is a great pairing of two classic holiday flavors: cranberry and eggnog.
I really like cranberries, but eggnog is not really my thing so off to Google I went in search of a recipe using both ingredients that looked appealing to me. I found this cheesecake bar recipe at Baked By Rachel and it fit the bill. The eggnog really goes well into the cheesecake part and the cranberry swirl is delicious. In fact, if I make this again, I may double the cranberry amount.
1 cup whole cranberries
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. water
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice**
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
20 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup eggnog
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. all purpose flour
**The original recipe used ground nutmeg and I didn’t have any so I used apple pie spice instead.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, water and sugar. Stir occasionally, cooking until all of the berries have burst. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Discard the berry solids. Cover and chill the strained mixture.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13” baking dish with parchment or wax paper and spray the paper with non-stick spray. Set aside. Add all of the crust ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the eggnog, vanilla, salt, spice and flour. Gradually increase the mixer speed while adding the eggs. Beat until combined and no lumps remain. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, spreading evenly.
Dollop the cranberry puree over the cream cheese layer. Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the puree to create a pretty design.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool in the pan until the cheesecake is room temperature then chill in the refrigerator. After the cheesecake is chilled, carefully lift it out of the pan by the paper and slice into even squares. Serve immediately or store chilled.