Hey y’all! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let’s recap on the last few months!
For starters, I completed my Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the end of March! It was a long and painful year and a half, but I finally crossed the finish line.
Since then I’ve been trying to figure out the next steps. I adore Phoenix, but my instincts are saying it’s time to move onto the next adventure. Any suggestions on a fun city? Otherwise, my social calendar has been jam-packed lots of wine and cheese boards, cookouts with friends, hiking in Northern Arizona (near Payson, it’s gorgeous!), and also, a fun-filled weekend in Las Vegas with some wonderful people.
Now, about those cheesecake bars…
The last month or so, my friends have been absolutely in love with these simple Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars I make. This recipe was adapted from my favorite blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction. These bars are super easy to make and quite refreshing. Beware: they will not last very long once you try them! 🙂
My friend Natalie was having quite the stressful week a while back, so I threw together these bars for her as a surprise. She literally said they were one of the best things she’s ever eaten! Isn’t it funny how sometimes the soul just needs some butter and sugar??
Cheesecake. Who doesn’t love the stuff? But let’s face it: with the springform pans, water baths, cracks in cheesecake, etc., it can easily become a downright hassle. However, cheesecake bars are way more approachable, and can be eaten with your hands! Alas, the perfect finger-food dessert. With these bars, you get all the delicious things that make cheesecake amazing – tangy cream cheese filling, buttery crust, and sweet fruit, without having to break out the forks and plates. These bars can be made ahead of time. In fact, I recommend making them the day before you plan on serving them.
My Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars start off with two blocks of full-fat cream cheese (of course) at room temperature. For the fruit, I chose blueberries and lemon because they truly go together like peanut butter and jelly. Those two flavors compliment each other so well. You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. For the lemon juice make sure you use freshly-squeezed; that bottled lemon juice has no place in these bars! Then, you just need some regular ol’ granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and an egg for the cream cheese filling.
Now for the crust. Have y’all ever had Biscoff cookies??? Well, if you ever fly Delta you’ve probably had these gingerbread-like amazing cookies before. They are pretty much identical to the Speculoos Cookies at Trader Joe’s. They are absolutely delicious! I am using Biscoff cookies instead of graham crackers for the crust. However, please feel free to use graham crackers if you do not have, or cannot find Biscoff cookies. These cookies are a straight up game-changer. They even make a Biscoff spread, which is delicious on just about everything (much like Nutella).
Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars w/ Biscoff Cookie Crust
1 1/2 cups finely crushed Biscoff cookies (or Trader Joe’s Speculoos cookies)
6 TBSP melted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
16oz full-fat cream cheese (2 blocks) softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor, pulse the Biscoff cookies until they are finely ground. Pour in the melted butter and granulated sugar and pulse until combined.
3. Pour the crust mixture into a greased dish (7×11 or 8×8) and bake for 5-10 minutes until crust is set. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the filling.
4. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the room-temperature cream cheese together with egg and sugar for 2 minutes until fluffy.
5. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon juice into the mixture and beat until combined.
6. Carefully fold in the blueberries so they do not all burst.
7. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and bake until just slightly golden brown and cheesecake is set. It should take about 30 minutes to bake.