As most people do these days, I have an obscene number of blogs that I follow. My feed reader is insane. The majority of those feeds are from food blogs. I am always finding recipes that pique my interest. Even with the best of intentions, I never seem to get around to making those recipes. In an effort to remedy that, I made these cheesecake bars from Nicole’s blog, Baking Bites.

I had been wanting to make some kind of cheesecake bars for a while, but I wasn’t able to find one that really appealed to me. Nicole’s recipe, however, had me gathering ingredients quickly and diving right in.

While the word “vanilla” has taken on the meaning of plain or boring, it is anything but those things to me. I am the person who can’t bake with vanilla extract without inhaling deeply over the bottle. And, don’t get me started on my newly found love of vanilla bean extract, which I put to good use in these cheesecake bars.

Nicole writes that this is one of her favorites. After making them and tasting them, I definitely understand why she likes it so much. These bars were quick and easy to put together. The crust has to be one of my favorites. It has a wonderful subtle flavor, and the texture reminded me of shortbread. I used her suggestion of using vanilla sugar. While she has a helpful post on how to make vanilla sugar, I used Penzey’s vanilla sugar. Probably not the most economical way to approach things, but I had been anxious to put it to use.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars are subtly sweet and full of vanilla flavor! - Bake or Break

We really loved these cheesecake bars. They aren’t quite as rich as most cheesecakes I’ve made. The vanilla flavor is so perfectly simple. While I liked them just as they are, I’m sure you could easily dress these up with fruit or some sort of glaze or sauce for a visually impressive dessert. Any way you serve them, these are certainly a delicious dessert. Many thanks to Nicole for the recipe!

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 39 minutes

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars are subtly sweet and full of vanilla flavor.

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

To make the filling:

  1. Place the cream cheese, sugar, and half & half in the bowl of a stand mixer or a food processor. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture, or add extract if using. Add the flour. Mix or pulse until smooth.
Pour the filling over the partially baked crust. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the filling is set. 
Refrigerate until ready to cut into bars and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Baking Bites.

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    30 Comments on “Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars”

  1. I have recipes bookmarked from all over the place to try, lots from your blog too, like those last cookies you posted. These bars look great!

  2. I inhale the fumes from the vanilla bottle as well!! I can’t wait to look into getting vanilla bean extract… I never even knew there was such a thing. And you managed to get a delicious picture of an otherwise boring bar ๐Ÿ™‚ Will add these to my “to try” pile! Thanks!!

  3. The best thing about making cheesecake bars is that they are individually portioned so you can have a small piece and savor it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I want to have a piece of this, now! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the specks of vanilla beans in the cheesecake bar!

  5. Oh, “not so rich” rings my bell. Most cheesecake is just too much for me. I want to like it, but after two bites I’ve had enough. Definitely will add this to my own obscenely long list of blogged recipes to try.

  6. Wow, now I am dying to make these.

  7. OMG. I’m so humgry right now…

    I’m a fan of “BorB” and I would like to have your permission to translate some of your recipes to spanish (yes, I’m spanish). Can I?

    Thank you in advance and kisses from Spain.

  8. This looks insanely good! Sometime speople disregard vanilla as plain but when I see those little specs of bean… So luxurious and aromatic. I want some!

  9. I didn’t like vanilla much until I realized I hadn’t have proper, good old vanilla – that changed my mind!

    These bars look delicious, Jen!

  10. I think these look great!

  11. Hi, I’m Claude and I’m cheesecake-addicted…Hi Claude ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sounds really good, I have just to test! Cheers

  12. After the lime bars I made last week I have to give this a go. These look decadent!

  13. Thanks, everyone!

    Morgana, I don’t see why you couldn’t translate them. Enjoy!

  14. Yum! These will be bookmarked!

  15. Ooh, I love the vanilla flecks in this. I’m also a huge vanilla fan… and cheesecake fan… alright, these are going on the to-make list ^__^

  16. WOW. That sounds and looks unbelievably delicious!

  17. Cheesecake is my dessert of choice. Bars would tend to direct me toward portion contol–ha! Gorgeous close-up photo!

  18. I love my vanilla bean extract. And these look perfect!

  19. That looks so good!

  20. That looks soo good! I love vanilla….I love cheescake! The little flecks of vanilla look marvelous!

  21. Thanks! I can attest that these keep well, too. Very good straight from the fridge. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. I love cheesecakes I love cheesecakes I love cheesecakes .Stop. You know the truth now. I can’t help thinking that I’ll try this recipe… but like you… I see lots of great recipes on blogs which attract me…
    However, cheesecake is Cheesecake ! And I haven’t spoken about vanilla yet…

  23. Oh my good gracious this looks good. :O

  24. Once you put your hands on good quality vanilla,there is no going back. Smelling the pods always makes me happy! The bars sound truly wonderful!

  25. Sha, canarygirl, and Helen – thanks!

  26. Ahh. Yet another thing for me to bake while I am bored here on my vacation from college ๐Ÿ™‚

    They look amazing.

  27. Ahh. Yet another thing for me to make while I am bored here on my vacation from college ๐Ÿ™‚

    They look amazing.

  28. It looks delicious!
    I never eat cheesecakes…

  29. what is vanilla sugar and where do I get it? Thanks

    • Hi, Mary. Vanilla sugar is just what it sounds like – vanilla-flavored sugar. It’s available at specialty kitchen or cooking stores. Or, you can make your own my placing a couple of vanilla beans in a container of sugar, sealing it tight, and letting the beans add flavor to the sugar.

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