Remember those Philadelphia Cheesecake bars from the early 2000’s which were pretty much the purest form of ecstasy for a minor? Yeah I may have had a thing for them back in the day…ok I was pretty obsessed with them, and still am if I’m being honest.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog post sharing a recipe for Copycat Philadelphia Cheesecake Bars and it has become, without a doubt, my most popular blog post to date. I’m so glad to see that you guys miss those strawberry cheesecake bars as much as I do. 2019 goal – getting Philadelphia to bring those cheesecake bars back! I’ll sign the petition. I’ll show up at the CEO’s doorstep if it means I get to take a bite into that soft cheesecake bar just one more time.
But until then, I’ll settle for making the copycat vegan version of these bars myself at home. And I’m ok with that because these taste pretty dang close to the real thing, if my memory serves me correctly. Every snack session with these cheesecake bars is like hopping into a hot tub time machine straight back to the early-mid 2000’s, and it’s always a great trip. I make sure to leave my belted dresses and Hot Topic bracelets at the door, though. We don’t need those back, but we do need these cheesecake bars.
Anyway, the vegan version of this recipe is super easy and tastes the same as the non-vegan version. The only thing I swapped out was using Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese instead of regular cheese cheese, and replacing the egg with a flax egg.
Flax eggs, by the way, are absolutely perfect for baking. They’re the best substitute for eggs when you’re baking vegan. It doesn’t taste weird at all, and trust me I would be honest with you if it did.
Welp, until we get that Change.org petition off the ground we’ll just be making these Philadelphia strawberry cheesecake bars at home. And this recipe is easy enough so that’s ok by me. How about you? You ready to hop in this hop tub time machine? Let’s go.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
- 6 TBS unsalted butter
- 1/3 c white sugar
- 16 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 flax eggs (make this by mixing 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of water, and let sit for 15 minutes to thicken)
- 200 grams strawberries
- 1/4 c white sugar
- 1 TBS cornstarch
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c white chocolate chips
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking dish with parchment paper (mine is 8×8)
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and press into the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly as you work on the cheesecake.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Pour mixture into crust. Bake for about 40 minutes, and let cool.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, place all strawberry ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Bring mixture to a simmer. Mash strawberries with a fork until they incorporate into the liquid. Continue stirring and checking on the strawberries as it cooks down. Filling should reach jam consistency after about 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready once it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Put It Together
- Once cheesecake has cooled, remove from refrigerator. Slice into 12 bars.
- Using a melon baller (or a spoon), scoop out the middle of each bar so there is a well in the center. You shouldn’t take out so much that you reach the crust, just skim it a bit.
- Spoon strawberry filling into the center.
- Place white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave at 20 second increments until melted, stirring after each pause. Use a fork to drizzle melted chocolate on top of cheesecake bars.