Chocolate-Ginger Marbled Cheesecake “Bars”

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Here I am, screeching in at the very last moment, with the Daring Baker’s Challenge. I adore cheesecake and this was a great challenge presented by Jenny. Basically she told us to come up with any variety of cheesecake we wanted. I have to admit that I went to my culinary muses and asked them what they thought. My husband came up with a combination of ginger and chocolate, he was also very insistent that they be bars and not a big cake. Here, in the Midwest, any sweet cut into a square is called a “bar.” It changes this rather sophisticated flavor combination into an after school treat instead of a plated dessert. My sons Henri and Charlie whole-heartedly agreed, and then ran outside to skateboard as quickly as possible. It is very helpful to have opinionated muses.

I have to say he came up with a real winner! The rich chocolate ganache mixed with the ginger cheesecake batter sits on top of a dark chocolate and crystallized ginger crust. Marbling the two flavors and cutting them into bars makes them pure fun! I shared these chocolate-ginger cheesecake bars with several neighbors to keep me from eating the entire batch.

The winner of the Le Creuset baking dish is announced below.

The winner of the Le Creuset Stoneware Heart Ramekin is Carrie from Oliver Ranch. In the spirit of the Dancing Deer’s Sweet Home Initiative she is donating the baking dish to an auction for a soup kitchen that Judy from No fear Entertaining is involved with in her area. I’ll be donating a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day as well and if you are interested in donating something you can get in touch with Judy or donate to your local shelter. Thank you Carrie and Judy for such a lovely gesture!

Fresh ginger and chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use fresh ginger that has a smooth tight skin. If it is shriveled and dried out the ginger will be too fiborous and hard to grate, the flavor also won’t be as intense.

I used an Ice Chipper to chop the chocolate, my other favorite chocolate chopping tool is a serrated Super Slicer knife.

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars:

chocolate cookie crust:

4 1/2 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

add to the crust after baking:

1/4 cup Marcona almonds (or any toasted almonds)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Ginger Cheesecake batter inspired by The Essential Baker by Carole Bloom:

2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

4 extra large eggs (I used 5 large), at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons very finely grated fresh ginger. I used a micro-zester to do the trick.

Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon (she calls for 2 lemons, but I didn’t want it to over power the ginger and clash with the chocolate)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

I then add Ganache to the cheesecake batter:

4 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Chocolate cheesecake crust dough | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a mixer cream together the butter and confectioner’s sugar until creamy. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, ginger and salt over the butter/sugar. Mix them until they are just incorporated.

Put the dough on a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap.

Chocolate cheesecake dough rolled out | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Roll it out to about a 1/16th of an inch. Try to get it as thin and even as possible so it bakes evenly. bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Crushed cookie pieces on a baking sheet | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once the chocolate cookie is cool, break it into pieces and place in a food processor along with the almonds, brown sugar, melted butter and crystallized ginger. Let it go until everything is well ground crumbs. Pour it back onto the silpat or parchment covered tray.

Patting even layer of chocolate crust | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Cover with plastic and press the crumbs into an even layer.

Remove plastic and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the cheesecake batter.

To make the cheesecake:

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Make sure you scrape the bowl down often. Add the eggs one at a time and scrape the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and then the heavy cream, scraping down after each. (You are starting to get the picture, you have to scrape the bowl to prevent lumps in your cheesecake batter.) Add the ginger, zest and lemon juice. Set aside while you make the ganache.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degree

Whisking cream and chocolate for ganache | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Make the ganache:

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream over medium heat. When it comes to a gentle boil turn off the heat and immediately add your chopped chocolate. Swirl the pot to make sure the chocolate is completely covered by the cream. let stand for 5 minutes and then gently whisk it until smooth. Pour the ganache into a medium sized bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes.

once the ganache is cooled pour in about a cup of the cheesecake batter and gently whisk together.

Whipped ganache with cheesecake batter | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add a total of a 1/3 of  the cheesecake batter to the bowl of ganache.

Pouring chocolate ganache into pastry bag | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Place a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip in a measuring cup and fill the bag 1/2 full with the chocolate cheesecake batter.

Piping chocolate ganache onto cheesecake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pour the ginger cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and then pipe the chocolate batter in stripes over it.

Checkered chocolate ganache on top of cheesecake Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Yo will have to refill your bag a few times and may have to go over the lines several times until you have used up all of the chocolate batter.

Swirling cheesecake and chocolate ganache Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using a chopstick or skewer draw a line back and forth from one corner to the other through the stripes in the cheesecake batter. Don’t go too deep or you will disturb the crust. Very gently tap the cheesecake on the counter to get out any air bubbles.

place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until just set. be sure not to over bake or the cheesecake will crack. It will jiggle like jello when it is ready.

Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around the outside edge. this will also prevent the cheesecake from cracking. Let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Very quickly wave the tray over the stove to loosen it from the tray. Just a few seconds.

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Flip it over onto another baking sheet or large cutting board. Peel off the silpat or parchment.

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake Bars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Flip the cheesecake onto a cutting board and remove the plastic. Using a very thin sharp Knife dipped in hot water cut the cheesecake into bars. First trim off the edge then I cut mine into 2-inch squares. If you cut the sheet in 8 rows along the long side and 6 along the short side you will have just enough.

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59 thoughts to “Chocolate-Ginger Marbled Cheesecake “Bars””

  1. What a beauty to wake up to Zoe.First thing I saw on twitter this morning! Love everything about it…the crust, the ginger,the marbling, the bars! It’s GORGEOUS!!

  2. Wonderful looking cheesecake Zoe. Major thanks to you and Carrie for the generous donation to my local soup kitchen. The need here is great and money can be raised by auctioning your donation off!
    Food Bloggers are the best!!!

  3. These look and sound amazingly good! I frequently make candied ginger and dip it in chocolate, but I’ve never thought to translate that over to a cheesecake. Yum!

  4. What a brillant idea. I really love the many pixs you did. I never knew how to get swirls into the batter very clever. These would be perfect for picnics and after school treats. Excellent effort on this challenge. Yours from Audax in Australia.

  5. Zoe, thanks for the comment! You’re one of my favorite bloggers so it was extremely cool! (:

    I couldn’t wait to see your cheesecake and sure enough it looks amazing. The marbling looks perfect and the flavor combination is to die for!

  6. If only my family was as opinionated as yours! As a very indecisive person, I would greatly appreciate that. Great combination of ginger and chocolate! The cheesecake also appears to cut like a dream

  7. I love your swirling technique – so precise, and with such great results! As a midwesterner, I did “bars” as well, but I absolutely love the chocolate & ginger combo.

  8. I don’t even know if I can express the proper gratitude to you for actually showing a picture tutorial on how to get that beautiful decoration. SERIOUSLY. I can never do it properly! And chocolate and ginger is the ultimate combination!

  9. Zoe – I LOVE that idea for swirling the cheesecake and chocolate batter together – makes for an awesome presentation, and, of course, a perfect swirl! Your cheesecake bars look stunning, and the chocolate and ginger is a mouth watering combination!

    Also, I have three boxes of matzo left from Passover, so those chocolate-toffee matzos are going to become a tradition here too! Great idea!

  10. Wow!! What an amazing looking cheesecake. I love the idea of squares instead of a full cake. Sounds like you should keep your husband close to the kitchen, he has wonderful ideas. 😉

  11. Great looking cheesecake. The marble effect is flawless! Thanks for providing step by step instruction and pictures. Well done

  12. heyy these look SOOOO yummmm! I LOVE the swirls! I was just wondering if you HAVE to make a cookie base for it? can you just use crushed cookie that you use for all cheesecakes?:)

  13. these are soooo beautiful, I can’t wait to try them, I am the only one in my family that likes ginger so I need to wait for a special occasion. I love your blog!!

  14. I learned so much in this post! Thanks for sharing about how to do the swirly look on top. And I love your method for getting them out of the pan easily too!

    My easy way to grate ginger is to peel it w/ a peeler and then throw it into the freezer for a little while. It grates really easily when frozen!

  15. Hi Zoe

    I love chocolate and ginger together (dark chocolate covered crystallized ginger candy) and want to make these bars for a women’s group that meets regularly. I’m trying to decide what size pan you used to bake the finished bars. It looks square. Is it larger in volume than a 15×10 jelly roll pan? I don’t want to have more filling than pan! Thanks for all the great recipes.

  16. Mmm, I love the chocolate and ginger combination. How delightfully spicy and rich. Man oh man, I want to run into the kitchen to make these right now!

  17. I am so happy I found your blog! Your recipes are fantastic, and I love that your photos illustrate every step. I can’t wait to try this, thanks for the post.

  18. Hi mj,

    My pan is closer to 12×16, but it is just less than an inch thick. If yours is deeper than that you will have no problem using up the batter.

    Thanks, Zoë

  19. Can you use a steam bath as you would with a normal cheesecake to help with the cracking or would that adversely affect the brownie part?

  20. I’m trying not to drool on my keyboard. I love ginger in desserts because of the spice and complexity it brings- I’ve been addicted to these vegan blueberry muffins made with almond flour and crystallized ginger from a local organic bakery.

  21. When you flip it out of the pan why doesn’t the top get messed up. I am making this for a party and don’t want to have a disaster. Thanks

  22. Hi Lynn,

    The trick is to make sure that the cheesecake is perfectly cold and covered with plastic wrap. Once you invert the cheesecake out onto the cutting board you will gently peel the plastic off. if it looks like it is sticking at all, just throw the whole thing in the freezer for several minutes and that will harden every thing up enough to guarantee success.

    have fun and enjoy! Zoë

  23. I love the combination of chocolate and ginger with this creamy cheesecake. Thanks for being a part of this challenge. It is taking me a while to get to every post, so sorry for being delayed in commenting.

    Jenny of JennyBakes

  24. These look delicious. Do you think a base made of ginger snaps would be okay in place of what you’ve done here? I’m looking for a reason to use a tub of triple ginger snaps I bought at Trader Joe’s recently.

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