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Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Recipe Sources and ideas: Filling and blueberry design inspired by Paula Deen’s Savannah Cheesecake Cookies. Raspberry puree and swirl designs inspired by Annie’s Eats Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes. The crust–All me, baby. All me.

Ingredients

For the Crust:

For the Cheesecake Layer:

For the Fruit Puree (If you are using the fruit puree as a decorative topping to be baked with the cheesecake, use the recipe amounts as stated. If you want to have a fruit puree to drizzle over the bars, then double the recipe. I had some difficulty with the blueberry puree, so I am not including it here…long story.)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  2. Crush the vanilla wafers and the lemon cookies into fine crumbs. (Food processor, blender, rolling pin, etc.) Put in a medium bowl and pour the melted butter over the crumbs. Blend well.
  3. Press crust evenly and firmly into a 9″ x13″ baking pan. (I used a glass baking dish.) Bake for 8-10 minutes until crust is set. It should be golden brown, which is just a little bit darker than before it was cooked.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. (Low speed.) Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
  6. Add the eggs and blend on low speed until incorporated.
  7. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and the paddle attachment. The zest has a tendency to collect on the paddle. Give the ingredients a quick stir to make sure that everything is well distributed.
  8. Pour on top of the crust. (Note: If baking with a decorative fruit puree topping, please see directions below.) Bake for 20-25 minutes until filling is set. It is okay if the middle jiggles just slightly. I like to do the toothpick test, though. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the filling. The toothpick will have some of the filling clinging to it, however the filling should not look liquid on the toothpick. If the filling has cooked properly, there will be little moist bits of it clinging to the toothpick.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, then cut into squares. I cut the cheesecake into 24 squares.

Directions for baking with decorative fruit puree topping

  1. In a blender, puree raspberries and sugar together.
  2. Put a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl. Pour puree into sieve. Stir the puree in the sieve with a spatula or wooden spoon to help separate it from the seeds.
  3. After pouring the filling over the crust, drop small dollops of puree over the surface of the unbaked filling. Using a small wooden skewer or a toothpick, gently swirl through the fruit puree dollops to create a marbled effect. Proceed with step #8 above.