The Recipes

Cheesecake Bars

I adapted this one from something I found online, but trust me, they are yummy.  I love to make cheesecake bars in the summer with different fruit, but this is a nice, satisfying winter option.  Beating the cream cheese a little bit longer makes it incredibly light and airy even though, of course, these just are NOT low in calories.  Go run a mile, and in the words of my coworker, even P90X Tony will allow you the splurge.

Cheesecake Bars


Ingredients:

- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1 c. melted butter
- 3/4 c. pecans, chopped (I used candied ones from the farmers' market, or you could candy your own)
- 3 T. powdered sugar
- 3 8-oz. packages of cream cheese
- 1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 T. vanilla extract
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. whole milk
- 1 whole vanilla bean, sliced down the middle and seeds loosened from the pod with a paring knife

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the flour, butter, pecans, and powdered sugar.  Press it into a baking dish lined with two pieces of parchment paper.  This will help you lift out the entire pan of cheesecake bars and slice them without wrestling to get them out of the pan.

Bake for 22 minutes.  Let the layer cool completely.

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.  I beat them together in my standmixer, but you could definitely use a handheld one.  Slowly add in the eggs.  Pour over the cooled crust and bake for 36-40 minutes.  Cool completely again.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk and brown sugar.  Add in the vanilla bean.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then let cool for another five.  Remove the vanilla bean and pour over the cheesecake mixture.  Refrigerate the bars overnight, then remove and slice.