Monday, July 12, 2010

All the single lemons.

 If you liked it then you shoulda put a squeeze on it.

We were a few days away from our voyage to North Carolina so I didn't want to go out and buy groceries, only to have them sit in the fridge over the weekend.  I'm an expiration date freak.

I needed to be resourceful.

I had a bunch of the staples:  flour, sugar, eggs, unsalted butter, a couple bricks of cream cheese.

Then I saw it.  The lone lemon in the fruit drawer, staring at me through that gaping hole in the plastic bag where I had pulled the first one through a few days earlier.  It was pleading for some love.

I also had a container of leftover sugar cookies that weren't going to be eaten because they were a bit crunchy and frankly, I'm more of a softie.

The verdict?

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

Instead of using graham crackers, I used the sugar cookies to make the crust.

 Here's what you'll need:

8-10 sugar cookies (about 1 1/4 cups cookie crumbs)
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Line an 8" square pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving enough to hang over the edges.

Using a food processor, pulverize the cookies and sugar until fine.  Add the melted butter and pulse until combined.

Pour the mixture into your pan and evenly press down the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.  

 Put it in the oven and let it bake for 10-12 minutes until it starts to brown.  While you're waiting for the crust to bake, you can prepare the filling.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor.

I was feeling adventurous (or too lazy to wash the food processor bowl) and decided to tackle this step with a whisk, a spatula and my nonexistent biceps.

 Blend until smooth.  Even if it takes 10 minutes by hand.

Pour the mixture over the crust and spread it out evenly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the middle jiggles a little when you shake the pan.

Remove from the oven.  Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it chill for a few hours in the fridge.  Cut into bars and serve. 

I am so into these, especially with the sugar cookie crust.  I've never made a regular cheesecake and honestly, it'll probably be awhile before I try.  Cheesecake bars are so ridiculously easy to make and taste just as delicious and creamy as the round version.

I feel like I'm in a commercial.


  1. Mmmm, these look so tasty! I want one right now! :)

  2. Oh my! I just ate a Famous Amos cookie and it was a little brittle and some of the cookie bits got caught between my tooth and gum and now I have irritation. Nice. I forsee a trip to the dentist.

  3. I read an awesome trip about zesting in Cook's Illustrated this week.

    Since you rarely need more than a couple teaspoons of zest at a time, and zesting pretty much ruins the fruit unless you're going to use the rest of it right there, go ahead and zest the whole thing onto a plate in several portion sized clumps. Freeze the zest clumps in the freezer, uncovered, about an hour. Once they've solidified into a shape, take the plate out and put them in a ziploc. Then throw the ziploc back in the fridge and use within 3-4 weeks.

  4. Um... awesome *tip*. It was a *tip* about zesting.

    Too early.

  5. lol!! I love the last pic. I would never have been able to do what you did in this post. you are like the kitchen Mcguyver.

  6. Sara - Hi there! And thanks :)

    Wendi - Muahahaha...

    Margie - Dr. Giggles?

    Liam - awesome tip...thanks for sharing :) I really dont like to waste fruit if all I need is the zest and the task itself can get a little messy. A zesting trip could be fun, depending on how hardcore of a citrus person you are...

    Amanda - you could so do this. You could be a cheesecake Frank Lloyd Wright.

  7. Fist bump on Iron Chefing those sugar cookies into yummy looking bars! That last picture with Barry White says it all :)

  8. Oh YUM. I love cheesecake bars... the problem is, when I make them, they only last a matter of minutes. :D What a great idea to use the leftover sugar cookies for the crust!

  9. Christa Rose - thanks! Don't forget to lock the bump (90 turn counterclockwise)

    Pammy Dawn - I hear that. It always starts with a "test" cut in the corner. 10 minutes later, another small slice. And so on...