berries | blueberry | cheese | cookies | cream cheese | desserts | fruit | lemon | recipe | treats

Follow the lemon brick road…

July 15, 2009

Every Christmas since I can remember and probably long before that, my mother has made 7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars, and now I do as well. Those are more of a wintery, cold weather treat because they’re heavy, with the condensed milk and all, and sticky so eating them in warm weather would be very irritating indeed. Why am I talking about Christmas in July? Because this post is about “cookie-bars”, treats that are quick and able to go anywhere.

Now while 7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars may remind me of winter, cookie-bars made made with lemon or lime, or fresh fruit, are a distinctly summery treat. They’re really easy to make and, like cookies, are portable enough to put in a Tupperware or even a Ziplock and bring to the park or beach or a picnic, or a birthday party in a classroom. They’re less messy to bring than cupcakes and cake for an on-the-go type of day, and slightly more exciting and different than regular brownies.

Now… combine cheesecake and cookie-bars and you’ve got me sold.

LEMON CHEESECAKE SQUARES WITH FRESH BERRIES*

Get the following ingredients:

Crust:

  • 9 whole graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons butter

Filling:

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries of your choice* (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry or raspberry will suffice, but are also optional… I used blueberries as you can see)

Then do the following with them:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Fold 16-inch long piece of foil to 8×16-inch strip; place in 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil in opposite direction, lining pan completely. Butter foil.
  2. Place graham crackers in a heavy-duty plastic bag. Using rolling pin or mallet, crush crackers finely. Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Remove from heat; add crumbs and toss to coat.
  3. Press crumbs evenly in bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cool crust while preparing filling.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and sour cream, then lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla. Spread batter over crust.
  5. Bake cheesecake until slightly puffed and set in center, about 30 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack. Chill cheesecake until cold, about 2 hours. (can be made one day ahead, cover & keep chilled)
  6. Using foil overhang as aid, lift cheesecake from pan. Cut into 16 squares; arrange on platter. Top each square with fresh berries. Chill until ready to serve, up to 3 hours. Serve chilled.

*Like I said, totally optional.

lemoncheesecakesquares2

I gave them a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar as well, just to add a little more sweetness as they’re sorta tart due to the lemon juice and zest.

These are really refreshing and make an excellent summer dessert. A+!

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  1. My mom bought *another* giant thing of blueberries from Sam’s Club today, so I’ll be making everything with blueberries again for a while.

    I really want to try a Splenda version of these for my sister (and… you know… I might have one too). 🙂

  2. Like I said, they were really good… but super tart. It’s possible I went overboard with the lemon juice, seeing as how I didn’t exactly measure it. Then again, they may just be that way. If you make them please let me know what you thought…

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