February 05, 2009

Nutella Cheesecake Squares


Ingredients:
crust:
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt

filling:
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 large eggs,at room temperature

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray with baking spray an 8x8 inch pan. In a small bowl, add the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, oats and salt, mix thoroughly with a fork. Press into bottom of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten and press firmly. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and flour, beat until smooth. Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the 8x8 inch pan. Add the Nutella into the remaining batter and mix throughly. Spread on top of the first cheesecake layer. Bake 25 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.


My thoughts:


I don't tend to join in on most of the group food blogging events that seem so popular right now but I love Nutella and just couldn't resist. While the American version of Nutella is widely available, I like to go to our local Italian market and pick up a jar of imported Italian Nutella. The two are fairly similar in flavor but the Italian version doesn't have hydrogenated oil and (perhaps because of this) is a little thicker. It also seems to be a bit more chocolate-y. Anyway, I am sure whatever local version of Nutella you have available would work fine in this recipe.

I had originally came up with the recipe a couple of months ago only to find that I was totally out of Nutella and that I hadn't yet replaced the 8x8 inch pan I had dropped. The horror! Then I got distracted by other cooking and a never ending cold and forgot all about it until I saw someone mention WND on twitter. So I dragged out the recipe and made it this weekend. It was as tasty as I had hoped. The cheesecake is rich and creamy and has a great chocolate-hazelnut flavor. The bottom crust is very chocolate-y and the oats add body and crunch. The crust is also a great alternative to the more traditional graham cracker or shortbread crust which can be kind of bland or boring. In this case, the crust brings out the flavor of the bars without overpowering it.