Friday, June 7, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

So here's a bit of backstory. I'm an only child--the people in my house are me, my mom and dad, and our crazy mutt Seeds. Therefore, whenever I make desserts, I have to find someone to give them to!

Every month, the dental practice I work at has a "team meeting", where all the employees meet and we discuss various topics. You see where I'm going with this? That's right; a group of people I could give dessert to!

Since all my coworkers are quite healthy, I thought I'd stay away from (deliciously caloric) things like brownies. I wanted something relatively mess-free as well... with some creative googling and blog-searching, I found a recipe on Brown Eyed Baker for Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake bars.

You will need:
 -Nine graham crackers
 -1/2 cup of granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
 -Pinch of cinnamon
 -A cup of blueberries
 -16 oz (two little boxes) of cream cheese
 -4 tablespoons of butter, melted
 -2 eggs
 -Zest and juice of two lemons

First off, preheat your oven to 375˚F, and line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper. Trim the edges so they don't hang too far off the edge.

You'll use your food processor excessively for this--so drag it out from whatever cabinet it's in, give it a good rinse, and you're set! Break your graham crackers into pieces, and throw those into the processor with the two tablespoons of sugar and the pinch of cinnamon.

Pulse until it resembles bread crumbs, then pour in the melted butter. Pulse some more until it resembles the above picture.

Press the mixture into the pan, then bake for twelve minutes until it's even more golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it cool, but keep the oven on and hot!

While the crust is in the oven, you can start on your filling.

Begin by zesting your lemons. We have a nifty little tool that we use, so that certainly simplifies things. Once you've zested (I'm never going to get sick of that word), slice your lemons in half, then juice them. If you don't have a juicing device, use a pair of tongs to squeeze the lemons. It works better than manual squeezing!

Into the food processor: all the cream cheese, the two eggs, a half cup of sugar, and all the lemon juice and zest. Process away until it's completely smooth.

Make sure you occasionally scrape the sides down, so that everything can mix together fully.

Pour the filling on top of the slightly cooled crust. It's going to be pretty thick, so spread it with a spatula to make an even layer. Once it's spread to your satisfaction, sprinkle your blueberries on top. Feel free to put as many or as few on as you'd like.

Now, pop that sucker into the oven for approximately 35 minutes, until "the center only slightly jiggles", which I took to mean as didn't jiggle much when I poked it (with clean fingers, I swear).

When they're done, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before removing from the pan and refrigerating for at least three hours.

I brought them into the office and was greeted by some very happy coworkers! They went quickly and were absolutely delicious--they were wonderfully light and lemony. I saved some for my parents and they said that, flavorwise, the bars reminded them of Key Lime Pie. Next time I may omit the blueberries and instead top with a little bit of fresh zest!

These will definitely go on the roster for delicious, relatively guilt-free, and quick desserts!

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