Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

This month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Sara’s blog, Cook With Sara. There, she shares a plethora of recipes across pretty much every area of cooking – grilling, slow cooking, baking – and also all sorts of ingredients. Her recipe index was so long (and well organized!) that I was immediately overwhelmed with so many stellar options.Fortunately, I knew I wanted to make something with coffee for an upcoming dinner, so I was able to sift through her many recipes to settle on these Mocha Cheesecake Bars.

I rarely work with gelatin, so was a bit apprehensive about making a cheesecake recipe with it, but Sara gave this recipe a good review so I figured it was worth a try. Of course, the fact that there is an Oreo crust also helped to seal the deal 🙂

This cheesecake is a lighter alternative to the more traditional cheesecake recipes, made with reduced fat sour cream and cream cheese, and without eggs. The coffee and chocolate are the stand-out flavorings, and to be sure that flavor came through I added a bit extra of both. For the crust, I omitted the chocolate syrup she called for, only because I didn’t have any on hand.

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

The assembly of these bars was simple and quick, but they do need some time to set-up before they’re ready for serving. Sara’s original recipe suggests refrigerating them overnight, and if you think to plan ahead that’s probably a smart option. For me, I was hoping to serve these bars the same evening that I made them, so I had to cut into them after about 6 hours after making them. While these bars are inherently fragile (given the addition of gelatin and the lack of eggs), I was able to easily slice and serve them, no problem.

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are smooth and balanced, if a dessert can de described that way. They are silky smooth, just sweet enough, with mild, pleasant flavors of chocolate and coffee. I really enjoyed them! They’re definitely a lighter version of their former selves, but in a pleasing way.  Big thumbs up! Thanks for the recipe, Sara!

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 9 bars


  • 14 Oreos (or other cream filled chocolate cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 8 oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • Scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly


  1. Grease an 8 x 8" baking pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the crust
  3. Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until you've got uniformly fine crumbs. Add melted butter and continue to pulse until combined. Pour crumb mixture into prepared pan, and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Freeze crust while assembling the filling.
  4. For the filling
  5. Pour coffee and instead coffee powder into a small saucepan and evenly sprinkle gelatin over it. Let stand 1 minute, then heat over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the sour cream, then the chocolate and coffee mixture, continuing to mix until completely incorporated. Pour filling over crust, using a spatula to spread evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Before serving, garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans, if you'd like!

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