With a buttery shortbread crust, a tangy and smooth cheesecake filling, and plenty of crunchy-coated chocolate, these M&M Cheesecake Squares satisfy all your cravings.
In an effort to continue emptying the pounds of meat in our freezer, last night we had a couple guys over and fired up the grill. Venison burgers and moose burgers (both topped with bacon), steaks and moose sausages. And as if 4 species of animals wasn’t enough, one of our friends brought some buffalo chicken dip too. A man’s heaven. I left the meat to the boys, and I was in charge of dessert.
A little bird told me that our friend Brandon has a particular affinity for cheesecake. I didn’t really have time to make cheesecake (and refrigerate for hours), so I went to the next best thing: cheesecake bars! And since dessert isn’t really dessert without chocolate, as far as I’m concerned at least, I had to add a bit of that as well.
These M&M Cheesecake Squares aren’t as dense as a traditional cheesecake. They remind me more of a cheese danish, with a lovely light and fluffy cheesecake layer. The shortbread crust and crumble includes some walnuts which makes it especially nutty and delicious. The walnuts help to balance out all the sweetness, but if you’re not a fan of walnuts you could swap them for pecans or even almonds.
I like to use the mini M&M’s so that the chocolate is more evenly dispersed, but if you can’t find them or don’t have them, I have also used regular M&M’s and they come out just as delicious.
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup flour
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup mini M&M's
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
- With an electric or stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the chopped walnuts and flour and mix until crumbly.
- Reserve ½ cup of the crumb mixture and press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, and using an electric or stand mixer again, mix at medium speed until well blended.
- Add the egg and continue mixing until combined.
- Layer ½ cup of the M&M's over the crust.
- Top with the cream cheese mixture.
- Combine the remaining M&M's and reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle the crumbs over the cream cheese.
- Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting into 9 squares and serving.
Needless to say, these M&M Cheesecake Bars were a huge hit! I didn’t have leftovers this time, but if you do, be sure to store them in the fridge in an airtight container. You can also wrap them up individually in plastic wrap and throw them in the freezer. They freezer well, and to defrost them just leave them on the counter for an hour or so.
Enjoy the end of your weekends, and GO PATS!
Note: Photos updated 3-31-23. Original photo below.
You might also like these yummy cheesecake bar recipes!