Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lemon-Strawberry Cheesecake Cookie Squares

A cookie base holds a sweet-tangy cheese cake filling.


Wow! That's a long name for a recipe. But it really isn't quite a "cheese cake" in the traditional sense. This is the kind of thing sophisticated morsel you'd make if you were having a "tea" or going shopping and having some friends over afterwards. Or the perfect way to end a simple, summer meal on the back porch. In other words, it's a kind of light dessert as opposed to a huge chunk of chocolate cake. And it's perfect for spring or summer. Use the freshest and tastiest strawberries you can find. I think blueberries would be just swell, too--maybe even better!

  • 1 cup Vanilla Wafer crumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1, 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh strawberries
  • 2 large lemons

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan. (This is important so the squares will remove easily when cut.)

Mix the flour in with the cookie crumbs. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until crumbly. Pat and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for ten minutes. Remove.

In a medium bowl beat the sugar and cream cheese until well-blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, lemon juice. Blend well. Be careful not to over beat the mixture or the cheesecake layer will split when baking.

Carefully stir in the strawberries.

Pour onto the warm crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or just until the center is set. Remove. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.

Notes: I think melted butter would have worked just as well instead of cold butter and have been easier. Next time, I will add a layer of whipped cream to the top or serve with a dollop on top. Call me crazy, but I think layer of melted chocolate on top would by awesome, I think. To cut, dip a sharp knife in water to create clean slices. Use a micro-plane to make easy work of zesting your lemons. I think it would be interesting (and maybe cheaper) to use animal crackers instead of vanilla wafers--just saying . . .