You know I'm behind on my blogging when I'm doing a post on something I made about 6 weeks ago... Yikes. My goal is to be a blogging fiend today, so that I can get some seasonal goodies to you while they're actually in season!
Enter: some decadent cheesecake bars featuring fresh blueberries! I made these for my co-workers on my last day at the DA's office this summer, and just writing this is making me nostalgic thinking about all the passionate and kooky people I worked with there, and all the good fun we had fighting crime. So, here's to you! And here's to everyone else that wants to make a delicious summery treat for a special occasion, or as a "thank you" to someone you appreciate.
One thing I love about this recipe is that they are bars, instead of a full cheesecake. Bars are much easier if you're entertaining, or giving as multiple gifts. Also, they are a lot less finnicky than an actual cheesecake, and will come out beautifully without worrying about cracking, and other such cheesecake woes. This recipe is also special because it is a slightly different take on a traditional cheesecake. I saw Anne Burrell (on Food Network) make a Goat Cheese-Cheesecake, and I couldn't get the idea out of my mind, so I decided to incorporate it into these bars. And I'm very glad I did! The goat cheese adds more tangy-ness, and a little extra "hmmmm..." to the cream cheese. Then, for another layer of flavor, I made a spiced graham cracker crust. You can do a normal graham cracker crust, but the spices in this crust give the bars a whole other level of warmth and personality.
I hope you try this out, and share with the cheesecake enthusiasts in your life!
** LEMON BLUEBERRY GOAT CHEESE-CAKE BARS w/ SPICED GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST **
(That's a mouthful.)
* 12 oz. cream cheese, room temp
* 6 oz. goat cheese, room temp
* 1/4 cup sour cream, room temp
* 2 large eggs plus one extra egg yolk, room temp
* 2 lemons, zested & juiced
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
* 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 8-9 grahams)
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Pinch nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* Preheat oven to 325F.
* Grease the bottom and sides of a 9X9 pan. Place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.
* In a food processor, pulse together "crust" ingredients until they look like bread crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, you can hand mix together the ingredients, just make sure your grahams are finely crushed beforehand.)
* Pour the graham mixture into your prepared pan, and pack it into the bottom and sides of the pan in an even layer.
* Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
* When done, set aside on a cooling rack to cool completely before filling.
* In a food processor or with a mixer, mix together the "filling" ingredients until smooth (with the exception of the blueberries).
* Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the filling has hardened, and the center only slightly jiggles when moved.
* Cool completely on a cooling rack, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours (this is important to help the filling set up).
* Now you're ready to share the love!! Don't forget to save some for yourself. :)