Monday, July 20, 2015

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Long ago, it became a tradition for me to put a delectable dessert up on this site in honor of my birthday. I couldn't break that tradition this year, even though I don't write here nearly as often. Even though cheesecake has become one of my favorite desserts in the last couple of years, I didn't actually make these bars for my birthday. I made them about a month ago for a dinner party, but they are festive and special enough for any kind of occasion.

One year ago: Salted, Malted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats
Two years ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Three years a go: Tin Roof Ice Cream Cake
Four years ago: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling
Five years ago: Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Six years ago: Root Beer Cupcakes
Seven years ago: Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
(Adapted from Tastes of Lizzy T's and Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

Makes 9 large bars

For the crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

For the cheesecake Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup strawberry preserves

For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with foil and spray with baking spray.

To make the crust, mix the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and mix until crumbly, but combined. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.

To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. Set the cheesecake filling aside.

To make the streusel, mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and oats until combined, but crumbly.

Pour the cheesecake over the crust. Dollop the strawberry preserves over the cheesecake. Use a knife or skewer to swirl the preservers into the cheesecake*. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cheesecake.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a clean knife inserted in the middle of the pan comes out mostly clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator to set the bars for at least four hours or preferably overnight. Cut the bars into squares and serve.

*This is easier to do if the preserves are slightly warmed. 10 seconds in a microwave should be sufficient.

Printable Recipe

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seven Years of Delights

Oh hey there. Did you miss me? Somewhere between BodyPump classes, polar vortices, and quick trips to Nashville, California, and Hawaii, my little blog became neglected. In the past, I've celebrated another year of blogging with some sort of delicious treat. This year, I thought I would do something different and highlight some of my favorite posts from the past seven years.

Strawberry Galette with Meyer Lemon Curd in Thyme Crust. I am desperately missing Calfornia and year-round access to the best fruits and vegetables. I still cook in season and local as much as possible, but this recipe to me is the epitome of spring. Even though it is practically summer, delicious strawberries like this are hard to come by right now in Chicago.

Strawberry Galette

Cuban Opera Cake. This cake was the highlight of my friend Raul's birthday party a few years ago. It took several days to make, but remains one of my favorite recipes I have ever made.

Cuban Opera Cake

Watermelon Cucumber Cocktail. This is one of the more popular recipes on this site and with good reason. We all need a refreshing cocktail option in our summer repertoire.

Watermelon Cucumber Cocktail

Charleston, South Carolina. I was in Charleston for about 36 hours, but absolutely fell in love with that charming little town.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge, Charleston

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. Remember that brief moment in time when I had the time and a bright kitchen to do step-by-step photos? This bars were another super popular recipe, but they also remind me of one of my favorite days ever. This post is especially poignant because my friend who organized this wonderful day has since passed away, but his memory lives on in me and my friends forever.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Posh Polo

MB Post. Still remains my favorite dinner I have ever had in Los Angeles.

Bread Plate

Both posts on my trip to Namibia. My mom had just started working in the Peace Corps when my sister and I visited Namibia in late 2011. Namibia is a strange and beautiful country. If you ever have the opportunity, you should visit.

Giraffes - Etosha

Brunch at Longman and Eagle. Chicago has quite the extraordinary food scene. It was difficult to choose between this brunch or one of my fantastic meals and Parson's Chicken and Fish (negroni slushies!!), but Longman won by a hair. Land and Sea Dept. does not mess around with their stunning array of restaurants.

Fried Chicken, Waffles, Sweet Potato & Pork Belly Hash, Maple Syrup

I've mentioned before that the food blog world has become so saturated and it seems that right now I just don't have the time and energy to keep up. I can't promise I will go away forever, so check back once in a while to see what new things I've got to share or amuse yourselves in the archives. In the meantime, if you're dying to see what I am doing (eating) in my every day life. Follow me on Instagram.

One year ago: Strawberry Rosé Spritzer
Two years ago: Magic Cake
Three years ago: Nutella Pop Tarts
Four years ago: Strawberry Crisp
Five years ago: Nutella Sandwich Cookies
Six years ago: Perfect Party Cake
Seven (!!) years ago: The Return of the Glamorous Life

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