A few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending an exclusive Food Bloggers of Canada book signing at the Gastown offices of Appetite by Random House. Given that it was for a baking cookbook (Butter Celebrates by Rosie Daykin), I sort of figured I’d be the only guy there.
After driving over an hour – through an absolutely dreadful rainstorm – to arrive at the downtown Vancouver event, I took shelter under an awning while looking up Appetite’s buzzer number. Before I could find it, the building’s door opened and I was met with the friendly, yet sadly revealing greeting of “Hi…you must be James.”
Instantly I knew I’d be the only male at the event that night. I mean, there were four of us men in total, but I was the only invited guest. The others were all very much VIP: Appetite’s publisher, Robert McCullough; Food Bloggers of Canada co-founder Ethan Adeland; and author of Had a Glass wine guide, James Nevison.
As awkward as I felt being the only guy invited, it in no way stopped me from having a good time. I met quite a few local bloggers (some of whom I was already following on one medium or another), I had some great food blogging-related conversations (a first for me, really), and consumed some very tasty treats and wine. Oh – and I got some free, autographed books! (Those were, of course, aforementioned Had a Glass wine guide, 2015 edition, and Butter Celebrates).
This recipe was adapted from that cookbook, and it’s quite delicious. The adaptations aren’t too life-altering (I added some honey, decreased the allspice, and switched up the booze), so they’re pretty similar to Rosie’s original “Eggnog-less Bars”. If you like them, you’ll probably love a ton of other treats she has in either of her books (so go ahead and pick up a copy, okay?). As well, she has a ton of delicious goodies available for immediate consumption over at her bakery, Butter Baked Goods, which you should totally check out as well.
Eggnog Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tbsp. runny honey
- 16 oz. cream cheese (full fat)
- 300 ml. sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp. dark rum
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and the allspice. Mix the runny honey with the melted butter, then pour this into the bowl in multiple additions, mixing after each addition.
- Prepare a 9×9 pan by lightly greasing with butter. Lay parchment across the bottom and up across two opposite sides, so that the two ends of the parchment paper stick up above the top of the pan (this will help with removing the bars once they’ve baked).
- Dump the graham cracker mixture into the pan and spread evenly across the bottom, pressing it down to form a uniform layer.
- In an oven pre-heated to 350°F, bake the crust for approximately 10 minutes, or until the crust has browned slightly. Remove from oven and set aside, keeping the oven at the same temperature.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy. Add the remaining five ingredients (condensed milk, flour, egg, rum, and nutmeg) and continue to mix on medium until it’s all combined (remembering to scrape the sides down occasionally).
- Pour this mixture into the pan and tap/shake to remove any large bubbles (or take a minute to pop them with a toothpick).
- Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes until the outside appears to set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan. Then, run a knife along the two edges of the pan not covered with parchment paper.
- Holding the two sides of parchment paper sticking out the stop, carefully lift the 9×9 square out of the pan and place on a cutting board.
- Cut into squares/rectangles based on preference of size. Make three cuts per side and end up with 16 “Butter sized” portions, or make more cuts for lots of bite-sized treats.
Serves 16 for dessert