When I got a bottle of the new Bailey’s with a hint of Caramel Irish Cream Liqueur, I knew that I wanted to bake something with it even before I tasted it. I had two reasons for this. First, I don’t often have a full bottle of Bailey’s sitting around, so it seemed to provide ample resources for creativity. Second, while I like the taste of Irish cream, I often only have a few sips at a time. The liqueur is so rich and creamy that it can be hard to drink in large doses – but that rich and creamy texture, along with Irish cream’s unique flavor, makes it a great choice for baking!
These Bailey’s Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Crust are a great way to use up a little extra Bailey’s when you find yourself well-stocked with Irish cream. The bars have a chocolate shortbread crust beneath a thick layer of Irish cream cheesecake. Since I happened to have that caramel-flavored Bailey’s around, that is what I used in the cheesecake this time, but regular Bailey’s is just as delicious. Irish cream has a hint of chocolate and coffee in it that ties in very well with the chocolate crust.
The bars used quite a bit of Bailey’s, so they are rather “grown up” and should be a big hit with adults, especially if you like Bailey’s to begin with. The cheesecake is very creamy, and the rich Irish cream contrasts well with the tang of the cream cheese. The chocolaty crust provides a wonderful contrast in texture. They’re easy enough to make on a weeknight, fancy enough to serve at a dinner party and taste fantastic. What more could you want?
Bailey’s Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Crust
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup half & half/light cream
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 (8-oz) packages plain cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a Baker’s Edge pan (or 9×13-inch baking pan). Begin by making the crust. In a large or extra-large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Sift together flour, cocoa and salt in a small bowl. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture. Mixture will be crumbly when all the flour has been incorporated. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.
While the crust bakes, combine sugar, half & half, Bailey’s and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time, waiting until each in incorporated to add the next, followed by flour and vanilla.
Pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 22-26 minutes, until the filling is set (a 9×13 pan might need an extra couple of minutes, so be sure to test that the cheesecake is set by gently jiggling the pan before removing it from the oven).
Cool completely before slicing (don’t worry if the cheesecake appears to deflate as it cools), or refrigerate overnight.
Store in the refrigerator.
Makes 16-20 bars.