Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Here's a reliable recipe for basic cheesecake bars. The lemon is really nice with the blueberries, but would taste equally good with raspberries or strawberries (or all three).

I made these thinking my daughter would love them (since she likes graham crackers, cream cheese and blueberries), but she didn't. I guess I should have known better than to bake them so soon after her first viewing of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (there were big tears when Violet Beauregard blew up like a blueberry and the Oompa Loompas rolled her off to the juicing room).

Yield:  20 bars

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
18 graham crackers (about 10 oz.)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (plus more for greasing pan)

16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries, or more if desired

1.      Preheat oven to 325º F.  Grease the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with butter.

For the base:
2.      In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Press the base into the prepared baking pan; spread out evenly and pat down. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.

For the filling:
3.      Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then scatter with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed.

4.      Bake for 25 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, slice into 20 rectangular bars.

adapted from Tyler Florence, Food Network
graham crackers
graham cracker, sugar & cinnamon crumbs
melted butter mixed in
crust pressed into pan
crust baked
filling ingredients
filling smooth and ready to pour into the pan
filling spread over crust
fresh blueberries
blueberries sprinkled over filling (add as many as you want)
slicing into bars (already baked, cooled and chilled)

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