Lemon Cheesecake Bars. Mini dessert bars feature praline crumb crust topped with creamy lemon cheesecake filling. Bars are topped with fresh blueberry, strawberry and cherry sauces.
Why You Should Make These Dessert Bars
- The praline crumb crust is seriously delicious and can be made in advance of cheesecake.
- Simple, yet elegant mini dessert bars are delicious.
- The cheesecake can be prepared a day or two in advance of serving.
- The lemon flavored cheesecake pairs beautifully with the blueberry, strawberry and cherry toppings.
How to Make Lemon Cheesecake Bars:
The praline crust is prepared from graham crackers, butter, brown sugar, salt, and pecans. The graham crackers are place on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. I use 12 crackers. The pecans are distributed over the graham crackers in a single layer. The butter, brown sugar and salt are added to a small sauce pan. The mixture is brought to a gentle boil and boiled for about 2 minutes. The hot caramel mixture is poured over the crackers and pecans. I use a small offset spatula to spread the liquid over the crackers and nuts evenly. The crackers are baked for about 10 minutes in a preheated oven.
The baked crackers are cooled completely at room temperature. The caramel covered crackers will firm and harden. The praline is broken into pieces and placed in a food processor. The cracker pieces are processed into crumbs. The crumbs are transferred into a parchment lined 9 x 9-inch baking pan and pressed evenly across the entire bottom of the pan. I refrigerate the crust for about 15 minutes to firm.
The lemon cheesecake filling starts with softened cream cheese beaten in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until creamy and smooth. Fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and sugar are added to the cream cheese and beaten for about a minute to incorporate.
Sour cream, all-purpose flour, and vanilla bean paste are added to the cheesecake batter and beaten long enough to incorporate. The bowl is scraped down with a spatula, if necessary. Two large eggs are beaten and added to the cheesecake mix. They are beaten on low long enough to incorporate.
The cheesecake crust is removed from the refrigerator. The cheesecake filling is poured over the crust and smoothed with an offset spatula.
The cheesecake is baked in a preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until the cheesecake is set. The cheesecake is cooled to room temperature before being chilled in the refrigerator for several hours, but preferably overnight.
The cheesecake is removed from the pan using the parchment handles. A paring knife can be run along the edges of the cheesecake to help the process.
Bars are cut to desired shapes and sizes. I usually cut 9 bars. I sometimes trim the edges off to get perfect edges.
The lemon cheesecake bars are topped with fresh blueberry, strawberry and cherry sauces.
Blueberry Sauce – Add 1 cup fresh blueberries, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons water to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Combine a teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add to the simmering fruit. Gently stir in and simmer an additional minute or two until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and cool completely. The sauce will thicken more as it cools. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Roasted Strawberries – Remove stems from a dozen strawberries and halve lengthwise. Add halved strawberries, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar, an a tablespoon of water to a small baking dish. Toss to coat strawberries. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until strawberries have softened considerably. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Fresh Cherry Sauce – Pit several dozen cherries. Cut the pitted cherries in half. Add pitted, sliced cherries, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to a small sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or water. Stir to combine. Add cornstarch mixture to the gently boiling fruit, stirring occasionally. Simmer for a minute or two and remove from the heat. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Each of these sauces will keep for up to a week, stored in airtight containers. These sauces can be served chilled, at room temperature, or warmed. For these cheesecake bars, I like to bring the sauces to room temperature.
A Few Similar Desserts:
Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 200 grams graham crackers (12 crackers)
- 90 grams whole or chopped pecans (3/4 cup)
- 113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick OR 1/2 cup)
- 1 grams fine sea salt (1/4 teaspoon)
- 110 grams light or dark brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- 42 grams unsalted butter (3 tablespoons), melted
Lemon Cheesecake Filling:
- 448 grams grams cream cheese (16 ounces), softened
- 12 grams fresh lemon zest (2 tablespoons)
- 5 grams fresh lemon juice (1 teaspoon)
- 250 grams granulated sugar (1-1/4 cups)
- 60 grams sour cream (1/4 cup)
- 32 grams all-purpose flour (1/4 cup)
- 5 grams vanilla bean paste (1 teaspoon)
- 100 grams egg (2 large), beaten
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a large sided baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange the graham crackers in the center of the tray on the parchment.
- Sprinkle the pecans over the crackers. Set aside.
- Add the unsalted butter, fine sea salt and brown sugar to a small saucepan.
- Melt the butter and sugar over medium heat. Whisk smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Pour the hot sugar mixture over the crackers and pecans. Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly over the crackers.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Cool completely at room temperature. Break up the crackers and add to food processor bowl. Pulse until crumbs. Add melted butter to food processor. Pulse until crackers have been processed into crumbs.
- Line the bottom and two opposite sides of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving enough parchment on the two opposite ends to create handles for lifting the cheesecake bars out of the pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Use a flat bottomed glass or small offset spatula to create an even crust.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Add the softened cream cheese to a stand mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and granulated sugar to cream cheese. Beat on low for about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl, if necessary.
- Add sour cream, all-purpose flour, and vanilla bean paste to cream cheese mixture. Beat on low for about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl, if necessary.
- Add beaten eggs to cheesecake mixture. Beat on low just until incorporated.
- Pour cheesecake filling over crust in prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until cheesecake is set. Remove pan from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove from pan using parchment handles. Serve slightly chilled. Dollop with whipped cream or garnish with fruit sauces, if desired.