Raising the Bar

When the summer sun starts heating up my part of the world, mornings can be a blessing. Often cool, or at least lukewarm, they offer the best and sometimes only time for baking. And, if you're like me, you want to make sure the oven isn't on for very long. No bake desserts are great, but sometimes you really want something decadent from your very own bakery department. In my case, that means I'm craving cheesecake:

My solution? Cheesecake bars, of course. Baked in less than half the time a regular cheesecake requires and filled with all of the same creamy goodness, they are my go-to hot summer baked treat. This version is swirled with my favorite blueberry sauce, but you could swap that out for any number of options: strawberry, peach, raspberry, key lime, or even chocolate! The crust is a simple graham cracker-sugar cookie crust that will easily hold the creamy filling. And did I mention that you'll only be baking them for about twenty minutes?

Another benefit to making these goodies in the early part of the day when things haven't gotten stifling hot yet is they will have the better part of a day to chill in the refrigerator before it's time to serve them. Then, as the sun is going down and it's starting to get cooler again, you can celebrate the relief from the heat with a cheesecake bar and a glass of cold milk. Maybe this will become a weekly summer tradition!

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

For the Crust:
  • 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter, melted
For the Filling:
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 10 oz. blueberry sauce or blueberry pie filling

Preheat the oven to 350° F, coat an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Pulse the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a food processor to combine. Add the melted butter and continue to pulse another 30 seconds. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar until foamy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the partially baked crust. Drop the blueberry sauce evenly over the top of the cheesecake filling and run a knife through it to form swirls.

Bake the bars for 20 minutes or until the cheesecake is set. Allow the bars to cool for 30 minutes, then continue cooling in the fridge. When completely cooled, cut and serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

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