This weekend was the first day of spring. Although the weather did not reflect a beautiful spring day, my kitchen did. While it was sleeting outside, I was squeezing and zesting lemons for these refreshing treats. The Officer requested some lemon bars and when I found this recipe, which is actually for lemon cheesecake bars, I figured he would love them (he obsesses over two desserts: brownies and cheesecake).
These bars are a fantastic combination of a citrus spring dessert with the creaminess of cheesecake. Then topped with blueberries, they make a gorgeous, yet casual dessert. The Officer couldn’t stop eating them. The lemon is mild enough to not overwhelm the crust and the blueberries. They make a nice little trio in your mouth.
And one thing about lemons is, I think they are so pretty. I love the bright, fresh skin of a lemon and the fantastic design on the inside. I can’t help but think about summer when I see lemons…it is almost here. So raise your lemon bars (or any other desert) to summer being near!
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- adapted from Tyler Florence
makes 9 bars
- butter to grease the pan
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 9 graham crackers
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
make the crust
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Cut two pieces of parchment paper in rectangles long enough to extend up the sides of the pan (so later you can use them as tabs to pull out the finished cheesecake bars). Place the parchment paper in the buttered pan cross-wise and press it into the corners.
In a plastic bag, crush up the graham crackers in to dime size pieces or smaller crumbs. In a bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers. Add the melted butter and mix until the butter is incorporated. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and evenly press it into the bottom of the pan and about a 1/4 inch on the sides. Use a glass or another smooth surface to disperse the graham cracker mixture. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Cool crust.
make the filling
Before you begin, ensure the cream cheese is at room temperature. This will make your bars more creamy. In a bowl with an electric mixer, add the cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Mix until the ingredients are creamy and the cream cheese is fully incorporated. Pour into the pan with the cooled crust. Then evenly distribute the blueberries.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cheesecake comes out mostly clean. Only allow the top to get a hint of brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into 9 bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar.