Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

With berries coming into season, most summer parties will have some sort of berry dessert option. This past Memorial Day, after making way too many main courses and side dishes, I decided that for dessert there would be fresh fruit and these cheesecake bars. I also cheated and put out a few cute cookies from the bakery. I soon learned that there is no need for bakery items when you make these bars. They were a hit, even with the people who were "too full" to eat any more.

I cut my bars into 12 pieces, but you could have carefully cut these into smaller bite sized bars if you have the patience to carefully slice through the final product. I am not know for my delicate slicing skills, so I kept it a bit bigger. In the original recipe, they are cut into 10 rectangular bars, so you can really do whatever you like. I love that you get the satisfaction of eating cheesecake form the texture and flavor of these bars, but you don't end up eating as much as you would with a New York cheesecake. Which also means you don't end up as ridiculously stuffed. I had 2 squares left over and ate them 2 days later and they still tasted great, even though they were cold form the fridge.

Recipe from Tyler Florence
makes 12 bars

For the Crust:
butter, for greasing
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers (the ones with 4 individual crackers per piece)
1/2 stick butter, melted

For the Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup blueberries
powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat you oven to 325ºF/160ºC. Grease a 9"x9" baking pan with butter. Place parchment paper over the greased pan, pressing at the corners. This will make it much easier to remove the bars.

In a food processor, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and crackers until the mixture is smooth and looks like breadcrumbs. Add the butter and pulse a few times until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool.

Wipe out your food processor, and mix together the cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Make sure the cream cheese mixture is smooth and well combined. Pour over the graham cracker base. Top with blueberries and gently press the berries into the cheese mixture so that a bit more than half of the berry is sticking out.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the base only slightly jiggles. Tyler Florence claims the baking time is 35 minutes, but mine took another 15 minutes. If your oven is always accurate, check the bars at 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours so the filling can set. Once set, remove the bars by lifting up the parchment paper and slice into 12 bars. If using powdered sugar, lightly dust the bars before serving. Pin It Now!

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