March 27, 2011

Espresso and Cream Bars

To me, one of the most enjoyable past-times is drinking a great cup of coffee.  I am extremely partial to the coffee produced by Coffees of Hawaii, and in particular their Ka'u.  I didn't really become a coffee drinker until about ten years ago.  Growing up, tea was the drink of choice in my family, and if we did have coffee it was always instant.  That is probably why I didn't like coffee back then.  My taste has definitely changed now and our coffee is always freshly ground before we brew it, and then it is timed to perfection.

Of course I love coffee desserts too - tiramisu, affogato, Kahlua brownies, coffee ice cream are all favorites.  I really wanted to create some type of bar cookie and I thought the flavors of espresso and cream would be perfect.  I did a quick search but didn't find exactly what I was looking for so I used components from a few different recipes to come up with my bars.  I used the base from a berry tart that I recently made, the cheesecake filling is from Bakerella, and the ganache topping is from the LA Times.  The combination was delicious.

Once all of the steps were complete I put the tart in the refrigerator overnight so that the ganache could harden.  After a few photos I cut it into bars.  I have already put it into containers so that my girls can take it to school tomorrow and share with their friends.  Having these in the house is just too dangerous for me - before I knew it I would have eaten way too many.

Espresso and Cream Bars
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Base -
  • 1 cup (2 sticks), melted and cooled
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Filling - 
  • 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons hot water

Ganache Topping -  
  • 10 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped 
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Decoration -
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 5 teaspoons hot water

Base -
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease a square tart tin that has a removable base.
  3. Stir together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the flour and salt and stir to make a soft dough.
  5. Press dough evenly into base and side of square tart tin with fingertips.
  6. Put the tin on a baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, until pastry is slightly puffy.
Filling - 
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
  3. On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition.
  4. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.
  5. Mix espresso powder and hot water to dissolve, then add to cheesecake mixture, mixing well.
  6. Pour on prepared crust and bake for about 40 minutes.
  7. Remove and cool.

Ganache Topping -   
  1. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring the heavy cream to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Working with a whisk or spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together.
  3. When the ganache is smooth, stir in the butter.
  4. Cool the ganache slightly and then pour over the top of the tart.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to harden.

Decoration - 
  1. Place sifted powdered sugar in a bowl.
  2. Place espresso powder in a small cup and add hot water, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Add espresso liquid to powdered sugar and stir until completely smooth.  Add more hot water if needed.  Do not make icing too thin.
  4. Place icing mixture into a piping bag and pipe lines across the top of the tart.
  5. Take a skewer or a toothpick and drag it from one end of the pan to the other. Then go to the other end of the pan and drag back the other way.  Continue doing this until you have completed the design.

Recipe inspired by Bill GrangerBakerella, and the LA Times.


  1. Those bars looks amazingly how you made them! Great post awesome recipe!!!

  2. I love everything about these! I love the flavors(anything that has coffee and white chocolate gets me) and I love how perfectly neat they look! I'm totally going to make these :)

  3. Oh, Felice!! This is just my type of dessert. cheesecake, espresso, ganache... all wrapped up in one, yes, I would have a hard time not eating them as well. I love how you took parts of different recipes and put them all together, I'm not very good at creating my own, they usually end up with less than desired results.
    Though I was going to visit you in about 3 weeks, but alas, he didn't get the trip and so I don't get to go either. Fingers are crossed for another visit though!!

  4. Oh my goodness! Im with Kim in this: espresso cheesecakey dessert is actually one of my biggest cravings. I so need to try this one.

  5. It looks beautiful and filling sounds especially delicious.

  6. For me, having a good cup of green tea is the most soothing AND enjoyable thing ever and can you imagine how good these bars would taste with my tea?! wooooow!

  7. Felice, these are so exquisite! The look, the flavors...oh, boy, I want one now!

  8. This is truly amazing! And I am seeing this rectangle tart pan everywhere and I LOVE it!! Beautiful! ♥- K

  9. Oh man, those would be so dangerous around me...they look phenomenal.

  10. What a great combo of ideas in one masterpiece and beautifully designed, too. Felice, this looks to die for and I understand why you wanted them out of the house - although I hoped you sneaked a couple to enjoy with your coffee! Your girls are SO lucky...

  11. I am not usually a huge coffee drinker, but whenever we find ourselves in Hawaii, I always love drinking their local brews while sitting on the beach.

    These bars are visually stunning and I want to eat one SO BAD.

    Thanks so much for sharing the recipe - I can't wait to give it a try!

  12. Love it! What a wonderful combination of flavors! Thank you for sharing :)

  13. Charming dessert. It looks wonderful.

  14. Tthese bars look divine and are so perfect. I like the flavors in this dessert, and I would have to give away most of them, too.

  15. I'm a sucker for anything coffee-flavoured, so you can bet that these bars are going into my must-bake folder. Can't wait to try!
    I bet these would be pretty amazing as a mocha-flavoured variation, too. (Hey, what can I say? If there's one thing I love more than coffee, it's got to be chocolate.) :)

  16. looks fantastic .. and really like the recipe :)

  17. I really like this recipe and I'm saving it. Where did you find that tart pan?

  18. @Sandra
    Hi Sandra, I think I got this tart pan and a rectangular one, also with a removable base, from Ross, but I've had them for a few years. I did a quick search online and you can find them at a few different places - I just typed in "square removable base tart tin" into Google.

  19. I love this recipe. Your dessert is beautiful and sounds out of this world delicious! I bet your girls are happy to take that to school with them.

  20. These bars look delicious! Love the presentation too!

  21. This is simply stunning! I love all of these flavors, the tart sounds absolutely divine! I will be bookmarking this one. Thanks for sharing :o)

  22. They look awesome! Can't wait to try! Well done!

  23. Oh Lordy... I swear you just lept into my brain and learned my weakness! This looks absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to give this a try!

  24. Such a pretty dessert! It looks really delicious, too.

  25. I love this. I especially love the way you pulled three recipes together and turned them into your own creation. The way you pulled a fork through your ganache is amazing too. Absolutely fantastic. Bravo to you.

  26. First time on your blog and I love the recipe!

    Will be a repeat visitor.

    Thank you for sharing.


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