8/9/09

banana-coconut cheesecake bars w/ rum soaked cherries


Any Cheesecake Factory lovers out here? Yes? Really the only reason I go there is for the crabcakes and then a big dessert. Small meal, big dessert. And personally I love the way they keep their restaurant so clean and shiny (cleanest bathrooms too). You know what cracks me up? They have a weight management menu, I mean seriously, The Cheesecake Factory and a diet menu are like an oxymoron. But hey you have to give them credit for appealing to all types.
They have the best tasting banana cheesecake. I have yet to find a similiar great tasting banana cheesecake, and they serve it with freshly chopped bananas. They do need a bit of help on their whipping cream though--it's really not that fresh tasting, does taste like it came out of a can. But that's ok, since I love the banana cheesecake so much. I have tried like the devil to recreate their banana cheesecake at home with no luck. On my last failed attempt I made these little gems. I'm still on my coconut kick so I had to add it to the base for these bars and I also wanted to add in some rum, but was afraid so I made rum-soaked cherries. Rum, can be at times a little overpowering, so I didn't want to chance it and ruin the cheesecake, after all all that cream cheese is expensive, so I added the rum to the cherries instead. It was a nice little hint of rum.
And if you do make this, make sure to grease your pans/tins. I forgot and it was impossible getting them out. Impossible. (as you can see in this photo the edges are frayed).

What is your favorite cheesecake?

banana-coconut cheesecake bars w/ rum soaked cherries
print recipe

for the base:
Butter, for greasing pan or tarts
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
¼ cup of dried coconut flakes (not the sweetened/moist kind)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

for the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 lemon, the zest of and all it’s juice
1/2 cup superfine sugar

topping:
¼ cup +/- of cherries, split in half or pitted, soaked in a bit of dark rum (soaked overnight is best)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Make sure to pit your cherries, slice them in half, place in a bowl and sprinkle with a bit of dark rum; just a coating. Cover and store in fridge until ready to use; they should marinate overnight or at least 5 hours.

The base:
Grease the bottom of a mini cheesecake square tart pans or muffins pans (or you could use a 9 by 9-inch baking pan) with butter. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon, and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Then add in, by hand the coconut and mix.
Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate.
Scoop out the mixture and press into the tart pans or baking pans. Make sure to press down good and get into all the corners. I used a small spoon for the corners of the mini tart pans.
Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.

The filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, mashed banana(s), lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined; you want a nice smooth, lump-free consistency. I then transferred the mixture to a pouring cup and poured the mixture on top of the cooled graham base.
Gently put about 3-4 of the rum soaked cherries on the top of each of the mini tarts—don’t push them down, just let them sit on the top. They might sink a little during cooking. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through or until the center only slightly jiggles. The baking time might be more if you are using a pan. The square tarts that I used only took 35 minutes. But I could have gotten away with cooking them 30 minutes as they were a little over-done.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours.
Once set, they should remove easily from pan. If using the 9 x 9 pan, cut them into rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.

50 comments:

  1. I used to LOVE the chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (even though it used to make me very ill - I'll leave it at that, haha).

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  2. Love that restaurant- yummiest brown bread around! These cheesecake bars look so pretty! I love the addition of the cherries- perfect! You could up with the best snack recipes

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  3. These look amazing, love those rum soaked cherries!

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  4. Love the idea of a small meal big dessert!

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  5. I love a simple vanilla flavored cheesecake the most but that doesnt mean I wouldnt like some rum soaked cherries - I have never been to that restaurant....

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  6. I'll be honest, I am not a cheesecake fan, sorry! The bars are pretty though, love those cherries!

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  7. I have only had to opportunity to visit the Cheesecake factory once, several years ago in San Francisco. I loved it! The food was good and the cheesecake was fantastic! It was the Caramel Pecan Turtle one. So good!

    Oh, and the "do the ice cream and cake" was just playing as I typed this!

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  8. Oooo...I love how the cherries are just barely popping up from the crust. Even more inviting to have a couple of those bars right now.

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  9. Funny you should ask because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kraig's Krazy Karrot Cake Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. It's cheesecake with chucks of carrot cake and frosting in it. Oh it's delicious!

    I also love their orange chicken and their lettuce wraps- to die for! seriously.

    Your cheesecakes look incredible, btw.

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  10. these little squares are just too dangerous! The small portions are deceptive and often lead me to over-consumption! Delicious OD!
    My favourite cheesecake flavour would have to be classic vanilla bean, topped with blueberries, strawberries or rhubarb!

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  11. I've never eaten at the Cheesecake Factory... I don't think. I don't eat out much. But those bars look wicked good! Love the rum soaked cherries.

    My favorite cheesecake? The fudge bottom one I made last year. That was the best. Although the chocolate marble cheesecake from the S&S is amazing as well...

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  12. Great bars! Delicious combination! I'd love to have one of these for breakfast!

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  13. Great bars! Delicious combination! I'd love to have one of these for breakfast!

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  14. Oh girl..the banana cheesecake there is TO DIE FOR!!!!

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  15. I love the combination of flavors of this cheesecake!

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  16. Oh my--I've only been to CF a few times (and love it!), but didn't realize they have a banana cheesecake. I would love that! Your little ones look great!

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  17. I do love cheesecake factory. You made a great combo for your cheesecake. Looks so good :)

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  18. I dunno! It's kind of hard to think of all the different cheesecakes I've tried, though there aren't that many and a lot seem to taste the same (which is almost a good thing). TCF is pretty good, but man those servings! Scary. Split one meal between four, really- even the pasta.

    Can I just say I like your cheesecake the best? ;)

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  19. I'll have to try the crabcakes at the factory. I love a simple cheesecake with fruit topping.

    I am loving these bars - you can't beat coconut and banana.

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  20. These cheese cake bars look excellent, Dawn!!

    You have made true lovely & yummie treats!!

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  21. Banana, coconut and rum soaked cherries! Wow, what a great combination of delicious flavors! Those bars look just gorgeous!

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  22. You have the right idea, small meal, big dessert and somewhere there i have to have my bread.

    But cheesecake, my total downfall, weakness, whatever you want to call it, I'm a fiend.

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  23. I do not think there is not a cheesecake flavor that I do not like. Been ages since I have made it though since well my body is revolting from mass bread making and throwing a cheesecake in there is going to kill me.

    I actually have cherries soaking in coffee right now for another attempt at nutella ice cream.

    Looks awesome!

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  24. Wow. This sounds absolutely incredible, I mean wow! I love the factory too!

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  25. Oh man...these are the bomb!

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  26. small meal, big dessert? at the cheesecake factory? i actually try to do that too, but i don’t think they know the meaning of the word “small.” :) meanwhile, this is a terrific little combination of fruits, dawn—i’m particularly fond of coconut in a cheesecake. loverly.

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  27. So glad you are back! And now you know my favorite cheesecake flavor from Cheesecake Factory. I have never had the banana one, must try that one now!

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  28. I used to love CF, but I went to the one in Bev Hills a few weeks ago and to say it was gross is putting it lightly. I much prefer homemade cheesecakes and bars make it perfectly easy to eat too much. Love the rum soaked cherries.

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  29. I've never had their banana cheesecake. Their raspberry one usually sucks me in.

    My kids LOVE bananas, probably their fave fruit to eat in a dessert. That said I'm giving these bad boys a try sans the rum soaked cherries unless of course you swear they will make the kiddos sleep better/longer! :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~ingrid

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  30. Dawn,

    Your photography is incredible! I can't wait to try out some of your recipes ... and yes, I was at The Ocean Club when I was introduced to The Bahama Mama cocktail! What a spectacular hotel with amazing food and drinks.

    Kelly
    Founder, Just a Taste

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  31. Ohh yum! Banana cheesecake?! The rum-soaked cherries make the perfect topping!

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  32. This looks fantastic Dawn! As usual a recipe from you I can't wait to make!

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  33. i love any kind of cheesecake! I also love going to the cheesecake factory. I think they make the best

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  34. Coconut in the crust? Whoohooo, nice! There's no way anyone can get away from that tropical cubana flavor :)

    I was laughing at your oxymoron part... it's so true. Jumbo shrimp and cheesecake diet :)

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  35. I love that place! My favorite is the one in San Francisco on top of Macy's in union square. It has a gorgeous view, you can sit on the patio and enjoy. Life is good when you are up there with a crab cake and a drink! These look fantastic with the run soaked cherries, that is definitely a decadent touch. I love anything banana flavored, so I am sure this would be tasty. Send a few my way, ok? I'll send you some dry heat ;)

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  36. Dawn, you are an evil woman. And I mean that in a good way! These. Look. Awesome!

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  37. Chocolate, Chocolate Turtle, Strawberry, Raspberry, or Pumpkin(Especially when topped with a maple-pecan sauce, yum!!!)
    -Canadian reader without a blog account :o)

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  38. What a great flavor combo! I've never had banana cheesecake before.

    My parents go to the Cheesecake Factory every weekend and my favorite part is the yummy whole wheat bread!

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  39. I like pumpkin, as well as ricotta cheesecake. Or the marble kind, that is really good. But I do love the Cheesecake Factory - but mainly for their food. Is there something wrong with me that I could skip the dessert, no problem???

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  40. These sound delicious. Adding the banana in with the cream cheese and also coconut in the base and then topping with the rum cherries makes me think that these would be a great dessert to serve at a party with that cacophony of flavors to wow everyone's taste buds!

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  41. Oh, you came back with a bang, didn't you?!! These look amazing! My oatmeal looks pretty nauseating now.

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  42. Oh! These cheesecake bars look delicious...love the idea of cherries in rum...yummie!

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  43. OMG THESE LOOK AMAZING!!!!!!! I love your site!

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  44. I never been to a cheesecake factory. Am i missing out on something? Well, i take your word for it although i much rather have a slice of your cheesecake bar right now. If you deliver i'll cook for you the rest of the meal. Deal? :)

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  45. Wow, these look awesome. I love CF, Can't eat the cheesecake anymore, alas, but love the food.

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  46. Hmmmm... these look a bit like French clafoutis!!! Me likes!

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  47. what kind of cherries did you use?? i'm all about these bars, they scream EAT ME :)

    fav cheesecake? can't remember the last time i had it... that's a shame. gotta work on that!

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  48. Those sound delicious!!

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  49. I like your reference to Ferris Bueler..one of my favorite films... I enjoy cheesecake with fruit and these bars look scrumptious! Does the crust stay crispy for a day or two? -not that they last that long or anything!

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