Jul 13, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Cheesecake Bars

This is another recipe from another Oklahoma friend. (Good friends and good cooks, all of them!) Dana made this for a progressive dinner at the holidays many years ago, and it was love at first bite.  I have lost her original recipe but not the memory of what it tasted like, and I've tried many times to re-create it - this comes pretty close, I think. Or maybe it's totally different and she'll see this and l send me the real recipe and then I can make them both. Either way, we all win, right?

Sorta-like-Dana's Cheesecake Bars

Crust Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup slightly softened butter
1 cup flour, sifted
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (I like pecans, but walnuts are good too)

Filling Ingredients:
3, 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened (you can substitute some or all low-fat or no-fat cream cheese)
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
8 tablespoons buttermilk  (or 7 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half or milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 9x13 pan with parchment paper (you can serve from the pan, but this makes it easy to lift them out and cut them into squares for serving.)

In a bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add flour and work in well.  Add chopped nuts and blend; press into bottom of pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

For filling, beat cream cheese and slowly add sugar until it's blended in. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla and buttermilk or cream/milk and lemon juice and mix well.  Pour over crust and bake for 25 minutes - do not overbake; you want the filling to remain creamy and moist.  Let cool completely and cut into squares.  Makes 18 cookie-size servings or 36 bite-size squares.

I like serving these with slightly sweetened fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or cherries), or set out a DIY topping bar with an array of sauces (chocolate and caramel are good), plus fruit and whipped toppings.

P.S. - A very happy 23rd birthday to our middle child.  One turtle cake coming up just for you! (Maybe I'll post the recipe to it one day soon, too!)