When the local, native strawberries seem to be jumping off the vine during a more rainy than usual June on Cape Cod, I can’t help myself: I must pick as much as I can carry home. After paying a small fortune, I realize that I need to come up with some really good ideas for these luscious gems. Strawberry jam is an obvious choice for me to make as I put up a batch just about every year. Strawberry Shortcake and fresh strawberries at the ready to just pop into my mouth are favorites, too. I came up with a strawberry smoothie including almond milk and Kefir for those who want to keep it healthy but what about those of us who love some sugar with our berries? Strawberries and cheesecake is a classic combination but who has the time for cooking a fancy New York style cheesecake that takes hours of low and slow baking for the creamiest of textures? Behold the Strawberry Cheesecake Bar. Easy, portable, and incredibly creamy and delicious with just the right amount of sweet fruit.
This recipe has a shortbread crust and a cream cheese filling. The strawberry jam swirled into the top can easily be replaced with any other fruit jam of your liking. Blueberry or apricot sound nice, too. The best part about this one? It takes just about an hour to bake and requires only a short list of ingredients. Not to mention that it is easily cut into bars that pack nicely in a cooler for the beach.
Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
(makes 18 thin or 9 large bars)
1 cup flour (can also substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 stick cold butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 packages cream cheese (12 oz.) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8″x 8″ baking pan with tinfoil. Leave edges of tinfoil to hang over the sides of the pan. Grease the foil, as well.
Prepare the crust: combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into the mixture until the butter resembles small peas. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan, packing down until it is completely flat. Bake crust for 25 to 30 minutes until just turning golden along edges. Remove from oven and prepare filling.
To prepare filling: combine cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, egg and vanilla in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Blend until well combined. Scrape bowl and blend again. Pour mixture over crust. (No need for crust to be cooled.) Smooth out cream cheese mixture evenly, to edges of pan. Dollop strawberry jam in 7-9 spoonfuls across the top of the cream cheese mixture. Use a butter knife to create large swirls in jam dollops. Place in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until mixture is just set in the middle and edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool to room temperature. For best cutting results, refrigerate for a few hours before cutting. Keep in refrigerator up to 4 days.