If your heart feels like baking, but your brain is reminding you it’s 95 degrees out and to consider an ice cream pie, here’s an alternative. These cheesecake bars will satisfy the urge to bake, but the end result is a cool and creamy bar cookie you can top with fresh fruit of the season. I used a few berries for this piece, but I’m about to go out and buy more just so I can serve tiny squares of this with big helpings of berries.
The original recipe makes a full 13×9 inch pan, but if you have a small family you might want to halve it like I did. Along with using an 8 inch pan, I made a few other changes such as increasing the lemon juice, using unsalted butter and topping the bars with sweetened whipped cream instead of straight sour cream. Another step I recommend is to line the pan with some foil. I lined the pan with non-stick foil and was able to lift the cheesecake right out and cut it into neat bars. If you’re less worried about cutting into neat bars, you can skip the pan-lining step.
Lemon Cheesecake Squares
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 scant teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 packed teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg room temperature
- few drops of yellow food coloring optional
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
Topping: 1/2 cup sour cream or 3/4 cup freshly whipped cream sweetened with 1 1/2 T. powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready an 8 inch metal pan. For convenience, I lined mine with non-stick foil.
- Combine flour, powdered sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl or bowl of food processor. Cut in butter with pastry blender or use the food processor and pulse until crumbly. Press into prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
- Combine cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in the evaporated milk, then stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat just until smooth (do not overbeat after adding the egg). Stir in the flour. Alternately, you can do this in the food processor or in a blender.
- Pour mixture over crust and bake for an additional 15 minute or until set. Cool in pan set on a wire rack. Chill until very cold. Spread with sour cream or sweetened whipped cream. If you’ve lined the pan with foil, you can now lift the bars from the pan, set on a cutting board and cut into bars or squares. Makes 12-16