These Cherry Cheesecake Bars boast a beautiful cherry swirl that make them just as beautiful as they are tasty.
Cherry Cheesecake Bars
- 1¼ cups graham-cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup cherry preserves
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 layers of parchment paper, letting paper hang over sides of pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham-cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar, stirring to blend. Press into bottom of prepared pan, creating a level surface.
- Bake until crust is set and golden brown, approximately 8 minutes. Place on a wire rack, and let cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese at high speed with a mixer until smooth, approximately 1 minute.
- Add remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, almond extract, and vanilla extract, beating until incorporated. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add eggs, beating just until incorporated. Spread cheesecake batter over cooled crust, creating a level surface.
- In a small bowl, stir cherry preserves vigorously to break up fruit and create a smooth mixture. Drop small dollops of preserves onto cheesecake batter. Using a chopstick or a knife, swirl preserves and batter to create a decorative design.
- Bake until cheesecake is slightly puffed and mostly set, 35 to 40 minutes. (A slight jiggle is OK.) Place on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Cover pan securely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours.
- Using parchment overhangs as handles, lift cheesecake from pan, and place on a cutting surface. Cut into 16 squares.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Make-Ahead Tip: Cherry Cheesecake Bars can be made ahead and refrigerated (whole) overnight or frozen (whole) for up to 1 week. Let thaw, and cut into squares before serving.
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