To you, with love: Lemon blueberry cheesecake bars
April 30, 2010 § 3 Comments
If there is one thing I’ve learned this semester, it’s that there are people who come and go and there are people who will be there forever. There are people who are worth your time and there are people who are just…not. This semester, I’ve relied quite a bit on my two best friends scattered about the East Coast, the ones who drop everything and invite me up to visit when I call them crying. And there are my friends here, who are willing to sit around on a Thursday night while I, mid social life freakout, bake up a batch of cheesecake squares.
With the end of classes, I have twelve days left at school for the year. Visions of next year are still dancing around in my head; I’m becoming overwhelmed by all the options that are open to me. Being typically indecisive, I’m not sure what direction to go in but I know that a whole year to figure that out can only be good for me. And I know now what I have at this school — some of the best friends in the entire world — which maybe makes it an itsy-bitsy bit harder to leave.
So this one is for you all, because there is no better way to say thank you than with lemon and blueberries and cheesecake. I first stumbled upon this recipe a couple months ago and thought these squares were positively adorable. Somehow, I never made them back then. But somehow, I keep clicking on links that lead back to them — so here they are, finally. The lemon cuts the richness of the cheesecake, making them a perfect lighter dessert for summer. I love blueberries in anything, and here they are perfect little bursts of juice. I used whipped cream cheese, which I was worried about but it worked just fine. The one thing I would change next time is to increase the amount of graham crust as I found it wasn’t sturdy enough to hold up the filling. That said, there’s really no need for sturdiness, as one of my hallmates proved when she took a fork to the entire pan.
The recipe comes from Kesha at Shared Sugar. Her pictures are beautiful, check them out here.
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Makes 9 bars
To make the crust:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
To make the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
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.
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.
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.