Sometimes you don’t want chocolate for dessert. Who am I kidding. It’s rare I pass up chocolate… unless it has dried fruit in it. I don’t do dried fruit. So I eat the chocolate that surrounds the shriveled fruit and spit out the remainder. Sorry for the image. And for wasting. But I love chocolate. Unfortunately for me, my guests (and husband and family) do not always share my enthusiasm. I could feign ignorance, whip up some chocolate delight and say, “Oh no. You’re not in the mood for chocolate? Sorry, I’ll know better next time.” But that would set a poor example for Rice Kernel, right?
Well, there’s no need to tell a whopper with these lemon cheesecake bars. They are creamy, cool, and deliciously, refreshingly tart – with the bonus of a buttery sweet cookie to offer some substance and crunch. I promise you’ll be asking, “Chocolate, who?”
Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Cream cheese layer
- 8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (I’ve heard an equal amount of honey adds a different sweetness. Have you tried?)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 baking sheet.
- For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl. Add flour and salt until just mixed. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until very lightly browned. Leave the oven on.
- For the cream cheese layer, whisk together the ingredients. Pour into hot crust.
- For the lemon layer, whisk together the ingredients. Gently pour over the cream cheese layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. The filling should be just set in the center.
- Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate.
- To serve, cut into squares or triangles. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.