Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

makes 24 bars

For the Crust

1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) crushed graham crackers

1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) crushed gingerbread cookies

8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

For the Filling

1 package (.25 ounce) unsweetened powdered gelatin

2 1/2 Tablespoons rum

2 1/2 Tablespoons brandy

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

4 extra large egg yolks

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese

1 container (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Line a 9 x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving overhang to allow for easy removal.  In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and gingerbread cookies until finely ground.  Add the melted butter and brown sugar and pulse to combine.  Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until set; cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over rum and brandy; set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and egg yolks.  In a medium saucepan, heat cream, milk, and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and steam begins to rise.  Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly ladling half of milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.  Slowly pour milk-yolk mixture back into saucepan.  Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.  Off the heat, whisk gelatin into milk-yolk mixture.  Cool to room temperature; stirring occasionally.

Beat cream cheese and mascarpone in a bowl with a hand held mixer until smooth.  Gradually add the cooled milk-yolk mixture, scraping down the sides and beating until smooth.  Strain the mixture over a bowl through a fine mesh sieve; whisk in the nutmeg.  Pour the mixture over the cooled crust.  Chill until set. 

Using parchment overhang, gently remove and transfer to a cutting surface; cut into 24 bars.  In a medium bowl using a whisk or hand held mixer, beat the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Dollop or pipe the whipped cream onto the bars.  Sprinkle the bars with freshly grated nutmeg.  Serve chilled.  Bars can be kept in the refrigerator without whipped cream garnish for up to 3 days.  Enjoy!

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