Raspberry Swirl Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon raspberry cheekecake bars

This year, we once again hosted Easter dinner for our families, but we switched things up and went with a non-traditional menu. Instead of the traditional ham, sausage, and pierogi, this year we decided to go with a taco bar. Perfect for the crowd…all 14 of them! As for dessert, I opted for something light and fruity. I know that Easter generally conjures up memories of chocolate filled baskets, but as I have gotten older, it also has me craving lighter flavors. Flavors such as lemon. Lemon is just so fresh and clean after a long winter laden with heavy foods. Since the thought of making a regular cheesecake still intimidates me, I went with the simpler cheesecake bar. It still has all of the flavor of a cheesecake with the bite-size convenience of a bar. These were a hit, even with the little kids! Perhaps now it is time to start tackling the real deal...

For the Crust
1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
4 tablespoons Butter, melted

Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper overlapping in a crisscrossing pattern, leaving some overhang for easy lifting. In a bowl, mix the melted butter with the crumbs until moist. Pour the crumbs into the prepared dish and press until evenly distributed throughout the bottom of the dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while preparing the filling. 

For the Raspberry Puree
4 ounces Raspberries (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons Sugar

In a food processor, puree the raspberries until smooth. Press the pureed berries through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much juice as possible. Discard the solids/seeds. Add the sugar to the puree and stir to combine. Set aside.  

For the Filling
16 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Zest of a lemon
4 tablespoons Milk
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest, milk, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over crust and spread with a spatula to even it out. Spoon the raspberry mixture over the top of the mixture and swirl using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the center. Cool completely then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

SOURCE: The Baker Chick