Lemon-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

When I decide to indulge with rich foods and desserts, especially if I’m going to risk my beach body, I always like to go all out with pastries or desserts that incorporate cream cheese. It’s my Achilles Heel. This recipe’s light and refreshing combination of lemon and raspberries make me feel like the extra sugar and cheese won’t weigh me down when I hit the pool with my daughter the next day (but it might, and I won’t care one bit. Because cheesecake is the best thing on earth, next to Thanksgiving food).

I used vanilla wafers for the crust, rather than the traditional graham cracker. I’m not a huge fan of graham crackers anyway. And, I always try to mix things up with common dessert recipes. Also, the vanilla wafers are less sweet, which puts all the attention on the creamy goodness of the cheesecake. You can really use any cookie you heart desires. This dessert is perfect after enjoying this delicious Indulgent Summer Dinner.

Makes about 10-12 bars

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies, finely processed
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Extra butter to grease dish
2 tbsp granulated sugar
FILLING
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 large brown eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
zest of 1 large lemon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cornstarch
6 oz fresh raspberries, extra for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

CRUST-
Pre-heat oven at 350°. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with butter. Then line with parchment paper.

In a food processor, add in cookies and blend into fine crumbs. Mix in melted butter and sugar.

Pour into baking dish. Press mix into dish to completely and evenly cover the bottom surface.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for at least 30 min -2 hours.

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FILLING

Pre-heat oven at 350°

In a large bowl, whip (handheld or standing mixer) cream cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Pour mix into crust, distribute evenly.

Gently press raspberries into the mix.

Bake for 35 minutes. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until completely cool.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours

Carefully remove from pan onto flat surface.

Cut into 10-12 bars and serve.

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