Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I have to admit that I'm not typically a cheesecake fan.  I'm sorry but it's true.  My husband, on the other hand, is definitely a cheesecake fan.  Actually, he's just a cream cheese fan so however it's served, he'll take some please.  On bagels he gets double the cream cheese.  Makes me shiver just typing it.  I like cream cheese but must have something else with it and I don't like it in excess.

What I like about these bars is that there's a nice amount of strawberry on top giving a perfect balance to the cream cheese.  The berries coupled with the nice, thick, crunchy graham cracker crust make these a winner in my book.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
Source:  America's Test Kitchen 

7 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Topping:
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped strawberries {fresh, not frozen}
2 Tablespoons warmed strawberry jam
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with a foil sling and lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust-process the graham cracker pieces in a food processor to fine, even crumbs (or use a rolling pin over a sealed bag).  Sprinkle the butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate.  Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the bottom of a measuring cup.  Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

For the filling- While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese until smooth in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, 1 to 3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and beaters regularly to make sure the filling achieves a smooth silky texture.  Gradually beat the sugar until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down as necessary.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds.  Beat in the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl and beaters and beat for another 30 seconds.

Pour the filling over the crust.  Bake the bars until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly, 35-40 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

For the strawberry topping - toss all topping ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Let the bars cool completely in the set, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours, then spoon the strawberry mixture over the top of them.  Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 5 hours, but preferably 24 hours.  Remove the bars from the pan using the foil sling; cut into squares and serve.  


Leslie said...

These bars look so delicious. I want to figure out a way to veganize them! I keep coming back and looking at the picture and making myself so hungry.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Leslie - I wish I could help but I'm not familiar enough with the vegan-friendly alternatives!! :)