I have been concentrating on making cookies that stand up well to the rigors of school lunch boxes and backpacks and was feeling the need for something a little more decadent…something like cheesecake. My daughter brought me a large box of blueberries over the weekend and I have big plans for them through the winter months. Blueberries aren’t my favorite for pie…I can’t remember ever making a blueberry one, but we love them in SCONES, CAKES, and MUFFINS and in these blueberry cheesecake bars.
Blueberries love the hot, dry summer we are
enduring enjoying here in the Pacific NW. I don’t think I have ever seen berries the size of these. The berry in the right photo is sitting on a quarter, and there were lots of these large ones in the box of berries I was given….blueberries on steroids.
These luscious bars are quick and easy to make. Just pat graham cracker crumbs onto the bottom of an 8″ square baking dish. Pour on the cream cheese mixture, top with berries, and bake for 35 minutes. As Ina would say, “How easy is that.”
The combination of flavors in these bars makes my mouth water just looking at them. Graham crackers make a nutty, cinnamony crust that is the perfect base for the creamy, lemony cream cheese filling. As the bars bake the blueberries swell and eventually burst to release their sweet-tart juice into the rich cheese filling. Be sure you let them chill thoroughly before you cut them into bars.
I found this delicious recipe at GARNISH WITH LEMON. It is popular and can be found on many blogs. Most recipes say to use a 9″ x 9″ pan but I thought the cheesecake layer was too thin so used a 8″ square instead. The recipe calls for 2 lemons, zested and juiced but that is a little too much lemon flavor for me for this much filling so I used just 1 lemon…perfect. I had only frozen blueberries and let them thaw for about 20 minutes before I sprinkled them on the cheese layer. As you can see, they worked great. Be sure to line the pan with parchment paper or you will never get the bars out of the dish. Hope you try this one. It’s just plain delicious.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8"x 8" square pan and line with parchment paper.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and add the melted butter. Stir to combine and press into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Place the cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and mix until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula, scrape into the cooked crust.
- Evenly drop the blueberries on top of the cheese mixture. They will sink slightly and sink a little more and burst when they bake.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until set in center
- Cool completely and then chill for 3 hours to set.
- Remove bars from the pan and cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar if desired, and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.