Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

Who’s up for a back-to-school treat?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to kick off fall and back to school.

I sure am, even though it’s now officially been over 10 years since I’ve been in school. But I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t want some Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars in their life?


I realize it’s not been too long since I posted my last cheesecake recipe, but when you’ve got something good going on I’m all about celebrating it. And when the ideas are flowing I’m always anxious to share them all with you!

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are definitely my jam. They’re the perfect size, meaning you don’t feel completely laden with alllll the dairy after devouring a huge piece. And did I mention they’re full of one of my favorite flavor combinations ever? Yep, in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan and could eat PB&J basically every day of my life until the end of time if given the opportunity.

It’s peanut butter-jelly time, my friends.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are the perfect back-to-school treat for your little ones!

Let me tell you, we are not skimping on any flavor here. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, the peanut butter and jelly flavors really shine along with the cheesecake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge fan of the Classic New York-Style Cheesecake but, especially at this time of year with school starting up again and fall creeping back onto the scene, it’s fun to mix it up and sneak in some classic childhood combos.

So, what do you think? Ready to hear how perfected the ultimate Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars? You’re going to be blown away by how easy this is…

A bite of these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars is all you need to soak your day's worries away!

First, we start with a peanut butter-y graham cracker crust. All that’s required for this step is graham crackers, peanut butter, butter and a food processor. That’s it! Pulse it all together and press it into a square baking dish lined with parchment paper. We bake it off just a tad to get things to set a crisp up a bit, then we’re off to the races with our strawberry jelly swirled cheesecake batter!

The first step to Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars: a peanut butter-graham cracker crust!

True to my usual habits, I stuck to using one block of regular cream cheese and one block of light cream cheese for my batter base. Remember, we’re all about that balance! It’s all very similar to my other cheesecake recipes, so if you’ve made either of those before (and even if you’ve not) you’re in good shape to whip these up tonight.

Once the cheesecake batter is poured all over the peanut butter-y graham cracker crust, you’re going to want to strategically place some hefty dollops of your favorite jam or jelly over top. We’re incredibly lucky to have a huge store of homemade jams on hand from my in-laws, so I opted for some classic strawberry, but you can really use any flavor you like.

Drag the dollops through the batter with a knife or toothpick, and you’ll get the beautiful swirly look you see in the photos.

Delicious strawberry jam is swirled through the cheesecake batter in these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars right before baking.

Into the oven (no water bath required) for a quick 30-ish minutes, then some time to set up in the refrigerator, and you’ll have you AND your kids’ new favorite after-school snack sliced up and ready to devour as soon as they get home from school (or as soon as 5 o’clock rolls around and you’re done with work if you don’t have kids of your own.)

It doesn’t seem like much, but what this recipe lacks in difficulty it most definitely does not lack in flavor. The peanut butter in the crust carries through the entire bar and meets up with the strawberry jam that’s perfectly swirled through the cheesecake, giving you all three flavors in every single bite.

A close-up look at super-tasty Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars.

If these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars aren’t the perfect September treat, I don’t know what is!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to kick off fall and back to school.
Print
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

 Combining a classic back-to-school flavor pairing - peanut butter and jelly - with creamy cheesecake, all in easy handheld bar form. The perfect after-school snack!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 bars
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the graham cracker crust:
  • 8 full sheets graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite jam or jelly
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an inch or two hanging off the sides. Set aside.

  2. Now, make the crust. Combine graham crackers, peanut butter and butter in a food processor and pulse until crumbly yet sticky. Press this mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake in the 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. 

  3. While crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheeses, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and sour cream. 

  4. Remove crust from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust.

  5. Place jam or jelly in a small ramekin and microwave for 20 seconds. Scoop dollops of jam evenly over top of cheesecake batter, then drag a knife or toothpick through the dollops to create a swirl pattern. 

  6. Bake cheesecake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden and the middle is still slightly jiggly. Let rest, out of the oven, until cool enough to touch and then transfer to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.

  7. Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator and, using the overhanging parchment paper, pull bars out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the cheesecake into 12 bars. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Float

The perfect precursor to the weekend!

Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats are the perfect way to bridge the gap between summer and fall. Plus they're easy and so refreshing!
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

The perfect drink and dessert all in one, this Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Float just might have to make an appearance at any end-of-summer festivities you’ll be hosting over the next couple of weekends. Because we can’t say “sayonara” to summer without a proper send-off now, can we?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared it here on the blog, but the hubs and I are just a bit obsessed with root beer floats. I’m not too sure what brought our obsession about, I think one day early on in our relationship we were talking about how it had been so long since either of us had enjoyed the favorite childhood dessert, so we then proceeded to go out to the grocery store and get all the fixin’s. Since then, root beer floats have been a go-to special treat for us. So much so that we even served them at our wedding last summer!


So when the folks at Sonoma Syrup Co. asked me to create a fun Labor Day-themed recipe using their Pomegranate Grenadine Simple Syrup, a float was the first thing that came to mind. I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate the last long weekend of summer with ice cream and the sweet, delicious flavor of pomegranate, which just so happens to be coming into season as we speak? The Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Float was born.

A Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Float is the perfect end-of-summer treat to kick off the weekend. And it's so easy to make!

Now, you could be really fancy and whip up some of your own vanilla ice cream for the float, but if you’d rather spend your weekend enjoying friends, family, the outdoors, etc., you’ll be just as well off by grabbing some high-quality premade stuff from your local grocery store.

Aside from the ice cream, all you’ll need for this show-stopper of a recipe is some soda water, Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pomegranate Grenadine Simple Syrup (the real star of the show) and fresh pomegranate arils to add some festive color and a little tart crunch to the drink.

Fresh pomegranate arils are the perfect topping for these super-easy Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats.

If you haven’t made your own soda before, prepare to have your mind blown. Even if you don’t own a fancy SodaStream, as long as you have a good stock of flavored simple syrups and some bubbly water on hand (store bought is a-ok), you can make a myriad of flavors. All you have to do is stir together the syrup and soda and you have a tasty, refreshing drink in no time at all!

So that’s our first step: mixing together the Pomegranate Grenadine Simple Syrup and some soda water to make the perfect topper for our vanilla ice cream.

The next step is to load up a big glass with said ice cream (I’ll let you decide how much, I know the ratio of ice cream to soda is definitely based on one’s personal preference) and then top with the pre-made soda.

Finally, sprinkle your fresh pomegranate arils over top and be sure to serve your floats with both a straw and a spoon for maximum enjoyment.

All you need to enjoy these easy and delicious Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats are a straw and a spoon!

Whether you mix these up today or wait until Labor Day weekend comes around, I’ll bet there will be no dreading going back to school when there are Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats involved!

Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats are the perfect way to bridge the gap between summer and fall. Plus they're easy and so refreshing!
Print
Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This new take on the classic float features a delicious pomegranate flavor and fresh vanilla ice cream - the perfect way to send off summer!

Course: Dessert, Drinks
Servings: 2 floats
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soda water
  • 2 tablespoons Sonoma Syrup Co. Pomegranate Grenadine Simple Syrup
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Fresh pomegranate arils, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large measuring cup, gently stir together the soda water and pomegranate simple syrup.

  2. Fill two large glasses with desired amount of vanilla ice cream. Pour even amounts of pomegranate soda over each mound of ice cream.

  3. Garnish with fresh pomegranate arils and serve with both a straw and a spoon!

Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats | CaliGirlCooking.com

White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles

The ultimate finale to a romantic evening.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

Who doesn’t want airy, fluffy and decadent White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles for them and their honey on Valentine’s Day? I can really think of nothing better to tuck into after a romantic meal and a couple of bottles of wine (or cocktails, if they’re more your thing.)


I’ve been dreaming up a white chocolate and rosewater combo for quite some time now, but to be honest, I was originally aspiring to make more of a mousse-like concoction. After researching various mousse recipes online, I was surprised to find that most mousses are actually made with raw eggs. I had no idea! You learn something new every day.

Although I’ve made things with raw eggs before (like this eggnog) I really felt like playing it safe this time and started flexing my Googling muscles to find a mousse recipe with cooked eggs. I ended up finding this one on the New York Times website, but after trying to adapt it to make it my own, the “mousses” didn’t turn out quite as planned.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

For my first attempt, I (accidentally) omitted any sort of cream or milk, and also failed to boil my water before creating the bath around my ramekins for cooking. The “mousses” looked fine from the outside, but once I dug my spoon into them, I realized they were still quite runny and not set properly.

The second time around, I remembered to add some almond milk (I wasn’t sure it would work but I was out of cream, it ended up working just fine, and it’s healthier!) and I also boiled my water before creating the bath for the ramekins. This resulted in the desserts having an incredibly light and fluffy top layer, with a denser, pudding-like layer underneath. After conducting a very necessary taste test on both the hot-out-of-the-oven and chilled versions and including the hubs so he could weigh in with his opinion, we decided that these were more soufflé-like than mousse-like, and so these White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles were born!

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

You may be intimidated by the whole process of making any sort of soufflé, but I promise you it is not that difficult. Do you know how to whip egg whites to stiff peaks with a hand mixer? Then you’ll be fine, because that’s literally the hardest part.

Also, don’t let the two words “water bath” scare you off, it’s another technique that is ridiculously easy but makes you look like a complete pro. Promise.

The great thing about these White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles is that they come together fairly quickly, and can bake off in the oven while you’re enjoying your romantic dinner for two. The other great thing is, because they’re sort of halfway between a mousse and a soufflé, and have that thicker bottom layer, they won’t completely collapse if you don’t eat them right away, like many soufflés do.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

I also love that these soufflés satisfy that sweet tooth without being too incredibly sweet or indulgent. There is no sugar aside from what you use to coat the ramekins, the only sweetness comes from the white chocolate itself. You also get a nice floral note from the rosewater, and of course we can’t forget that signature vanilla extract that is necessary in just about any sort of baked dessert.

Want to take your White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles to the next level?  I highly suggest baking them in these super-cute heart-shaped ramekins and topping them with an assortment of fresh berries (or a berry compote, if you’re feeling really creative) and some fresh mint.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now that I have your whole menu planned out for you, I’d love to hear how you and your special man or woman are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The hubby and I decided to do our usual romantic night in, and I am so excited because he’s actually cooking ME dinner for once!

I hope your day is full of lots of love and laughter <3 xx

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
White Chocolate Rosewater Souffle
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A delicate, airy white chocolate souffle with a fresh floral hint from a splash of rosewater. The perfect light dessert when topped with fresh berries and mint!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat four 6-8 ounce ramekins (bonus if they’re heart-shaped!) with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar into each ramekin and shake to coat all sides. Place ramekins (with a little bit of space in between each one) on a rack in a roasting pan. 

  2. Using a double boiler (or a metal mixing bowl above a saucepan of simmering water,) melt the white chocolate. You’ll want to keep stirring the chocolate as it melts so it doesn’t burn, but if you’re good at multi-tasking, you can whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt while this is happening. In a small bowl, simply combine the whites and salt and beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. 

  3. Once your white chocolate is melted, remove from heat and beat in the 2 tablespoons of butter that are at room temperature. Next, beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then the vanilla and rosewater. The mixture should have a stiff pudding-like texture at this time. Finally, beat in the almond milk. 

  4. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the white chocolate mixture. Keep folding until the mixture is smooth (it will be fairly runny.) Pour the batter evenly into the four ramekins in the roasting pan.

  5. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully transfer to the preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the top feels fairly firm. Remove from oven and serve immediately for best results. 

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

We’re pulling double duty this week.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

If you’re anything like me, you’ll know that any holiday celebrated on a Sunday just screams “brunch!” I mean, if we must celebrate on a Sunday and not get the day after off of work to recover, then we better start celebrating early. You feel me? I need an afternoon/evening after the celebrations to really wind down and get in the mindset of the coming week (plus I do have an approximate 9:00pm bedtime…don’t judge.)


So, I really couldn’t wait until Friday to bring you a boozy recipe. I know I just shared these booze-laced cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day, but this Harvey Wallbanger Cake is an old family recipe and I just know it will fit fabulously into your Sunday Easter Brunch menu. A boozy, breakfasty cocktail turned into a delicious, tender cake? I’ll take it! And while we’re at it, let’s also throw some Hummingbird Bread and a Spanish Tortilla into the mix. Maybe also a Greyhound 75 or a Pineapple Green Tea Martini? The possibilities are endless.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

But let’s start with this Harvey Wallbanger Cake. Because that’s really where it’s at. As briefly noted above, this recipe dates waaayyyyy back….We’re talking the written recipe that my mom sent me had my Tutu’s name on it (my dad’s mom) and my mom has been making it for us for as long as I can remember.  Nothing like some good ol’ fashioned nostalgia to make a sweet cake even sweeter!

So here’s what we do (and please, no judging, at least not until you taste it): We start with a box of yellow cake mix and a packet of dry instant vanilla pudding. That’s right, folks. CaliGirl Cooking is telling you to go out and buy a box of cake mix and packaged Jello pudding mix. Don’t get used to it, but this recipe is so good that it’s totally worth it. You won’t regret it one bit.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

To the mix we add the requisite eggs and oil, and then (this is where it gets really exciting) we stir in the classic ingredients in a Harvey Wallbanger cocktail: vodka, Galliano and orange juice. Easy as that! Into a well-oiled Bundt pan this batter goes, into a preheated oven they go, and you’re more than halfway there. Now the toughest part is waiting for the cake to bake while the overwhelmingly delicious aromas permeate the entire house.

Once the cake is baked and almost all of the way cool (keyword “almost”) we drizzle on the powdered sugar glaze that’s made up of, you guessed it, even MORE of the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail ingredients – vodka, Galliano, OJ (shall we call them the Holy Trinity for this weekend?) It’s important that the cake still has a bit of warmth to it so that the glaze has a chance to set up nicely.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

Once baked, the cake will be so fluffy and moist (sorry, had to) that it will keep fine at room temperature for at least a few days. If you want/need it to last longer, of course you can always refrigerate or freeze it.

And that’s Harvey Wallbanger Cake in a nutshell! Pretty easy, huh? Now you know that, even if you’ve ever only made cake from a boxed mix before, you can totally fancy it up and give it a completely new look (and taste!)

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

So what do you say? Are you going to give Harvey Wallbanger Cake a shot and serve it this weekend? Speaking of this weekend, what are everyone’s plans? We’re headed up north to spend some time with our families, celebrate a birthday, get my hair did (wedding hair trial day!), etc. etc. I know those 48 hours will go by in a flash but it’s always worth the trip. I’m firmly of the belief that, even if we don’t get any extra days off, it’s a holiday weekend and should be celebrated as so.

No matter what you do, I hope it’s filled with light, happiness and LOTS of laughter! XO

Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

Yield: Makes one cake

A tasty, boozy cake based off of the classic cocktail.

Ingredients

    For the glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Galliano
  • 1 teaspoon vodka

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using shortening, coat the interior of the Bundt pan so that every nook and cranny is well-greased. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium to high speed for 3-5 minutes, or until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased Bundt pan. Place in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes, or until top is golden and toothpick/cake tester inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. While cake is baking, make the frosting. Place all glaze ingredients in a small bowl and stir on medium speed with a hand mixer until everything is well combined. Set aside.
  5. Remove Bundt pan from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Once slightly cool, invert cake (in pan) onto a cake stand or plate. Remove pan from cake slowly and carefully. Let cake cool a bit more before glazing. Once cake is mostly cool but is still holding a little heat, drizzle glaze over top. Let sit to cool completely, approximately 30 minutes (if you can keep your hands off that long!)

Notes

Wine Pairing: Well why not a Harvey Wallbanger Mimosa?

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Harvey Wallbanger Cake | CaliGirl Cooking

Some for you, more for me 🙂