Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I know I just made another strawberry recipe, but what can I say, when you want strawberries, you want strawberries. Plus, they're in season, so can you really go wrong when you have delicious fresh strawberries that are naturally sweet? Nope. 

What can be a problem, though? When there aren't any graham crackers at the store due to the pandemic. Well, let's be honest, they had cinnamon graham crackers, but I didn't think that would go well with strawberry cheesecake. Solution? Make your own! If you're lucky enough to already have some whole wheat flour at home, anyway. Which I did. So I did. And? They tasted like graham crackers! Amazing. Did I notice a difference by making them homemade vs store bought in the cheesecake? No. So please don't feel like you need to do that if you can find them at the store. But, I've included the recipe below in case you want to go that extra mile.

Now, I've made this recipe before, but it was during that time when I was feeling too busy to post things to the blog (recipes seem to take the longest because of formatting blah blah). So, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to make this again. The original recipe will tell you to do this complicated foil hang thing in your 9x13 pan to easily take out the whole thing later on. That's really only if you're going to cut these into separate pieces to serve all at once, so I don't bother with it since we just keep it in the fridge and eat it over time, and you can just slice out an individual piece as you go. That means you also don't need to add the strawberry pieces on top, but if you're taking these somewhere, it certainly does make them more fancy schmancy.

Write recipe photo description here

If you like strawberries and you like cheesecake, this is a no-fuss way to combine the two into a delicious bar version, no spring-form pan required.

  • 9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces (see below to make these homemade)
  • ½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 ½ pounds cream cheese (3 8 ounce blocks)
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Topping:
  • 6 ounces strawberries, hulled (1 heaping cup), plus 5 hulled strawberries
  • ½ cup (3.5 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • For Homemade Graham Crackers:
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (4.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (1.75 ounces) vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup (3 ounces) honey
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. FOR THE CRUST: Process cracker pieces (see below if making from scratch) and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt and pulse to combine, about 2 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses.
  3. Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, firmly pack crust into 9x13 pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. This will likely take about an hour.
  4. FOR THE FILLING: In clean, dry processor bowl, process cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, add eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add vanilla and process to combine, about 10 seconds. Pour cream cheese mixture over cooled crust. Bake until center is almost set but still jiggles slightly when pan is shaken, about 45 minutes.
  5. FOR THE TOPPING: Meanwhile, in clean, dry processor bowl, process 6 ounces strawberries and ½ cup sugar until pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir strawberry puree and sour cream in bowl until combined.
  6. Remove cheesecake from oven. Pour strawberry mixture over cheesecake (cheesecake layer should be completely covered). Return pan to oven and bake until topping is just set, about 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cheesecake cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Slice remaining 5 strawberries thin and gently toss with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in bowl. Garnish with 1 strawberry slice per 2 inches and serve.

    For Homemade Graham Crackers:
  8. Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.
  9. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the oil, honey, and 2 tablespoons milk. Stir this egg mixture into the dry ingredients until you have a fairly stiff dough, adding more milk if necessary. Knead the dough gently until smooth.
  10. Wrap the dough and chill it until firm, about 1 hour (or longer, if it's more convenient).
  11. Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Divide the dough in half and, working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out about 1/16" thick onto a piece of parchment paper. Tip: place another piece of parchment paper on top of your rolling pin to prevent sticking.
  13. Transfer the rolled-out dough on the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  14. Bake the sheets of dough for 10 minutes, one each on the upper middle and lower middle racks, rotating the pans after 5 minutes.
  15. Remove pans from the oven and use a rolling pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut the sheets of dough into 3" x 2" rectangles; don't separate them, just cut them.
  16. Return the cut crackers to the oven, and continue to bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  17. Turn off the oven, and open the oven door wide for 5 minutes. After the majority of the oven's heat has dissipated, shut the oven door, and let it cool down for 20 minutes with the crackers inside; this will help them become as crisp as possible.
  18. Remove the crackers from the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack, and cool completely.
  19. Store the crackers, well-wrapped, at room temperature for up to a week; freeze for longer storage. This will make about double the amount needed for the Cheesecake recipe.

No comments:

Post a Comment