Last week when we had a family get-together (when I also made the Chocolate Shortbread Coconut Toffee Pecan Bars and five other desserts), I also made these Cherry Cheesecake Bars. I’ll have to make them again soon because they were a big hit and I only tasted a little bite off one of my kid’s serving. These bars went fast!
I got this recipe from Cooking Light website, but it was in July 2011 magazine. I changed it a bit since their recipe uses fresh cherries, but I only had some canned tart cherries, so I used those and made the cherry puree my own way. The shortbread crust was great and the lighter cheesecake filling was just right, especially with the cherries swirled throughout the top.
Cherry Cheesecake Bars, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!
2 cups all purpose flour (9 ounces)
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (1/2 cup plus two tablespoons or 5 oz.)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice water
14 ounce can tart cherries (no sugar added), with the juice, which is about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
red food coloring (optional)—it really brightens the color of the canned cherries
12 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray, mostly the sides of the pan. Place the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter and drizzle in the water. Pulse about 10 times until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Place the canned cherries juice included, two tablespoons of sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for a minute or so until thickened. Remove from heat and add the almond extract and red food coloring. Put in blender (be careful of hot things in the blender!). Blend until pureed. Pour the cherry mixture into a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and strain it. Set aside.
In the bowl of the food processor, place cream cheese, Greek yogurt, 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla extract and process until smooth. Add eggs and pulse until combined. Spoon cream cheese mixture over cooled crust and spread evenly. Dollop the cherry puree over the cream cheese mixture and make knife swirls across the top to swirl the cherry and cream cheese together. Don’t swirl too much to get the best effect. Bake for 35 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Cut in to desired size bars.
Perfect summer treat! And goodbye summer break—the boys are ready for school (and so is mom)!
4th and 2nd grade, here come Parker and Taylor (they’ll put shirts on for school. ;)
I think Sam almost always has a chocolate face (my kind of kid!). Ready for his last year of preschool.
Look at the size of this carrot Sam ate the other day!
And finally, can’t leave out the Professor—ready or not—he’s about to start school, too!