SMiLes by Meg

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

It’s a rainy day in DC today, and I’m very happy about. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the weeks on end of perfect Fall days, but sometimes you just need an excuse to curl up in cozy clothes all day, drink coffee out of your biggest mug and refuse to leave the apartment. This will be that day.

Yesterday was not that day – it was mid-70s, and we had some friends over for pre-dinner roof drinks. After last week’s experiment in keeping the blog post’s baked good for ourselves all week, I was more than ready to try to push as many of this week’s recipe into Allison and Brendan’s hands as possible. I ate so many Kit Kat cookies this week.

I’m very aware of the fact that I never make fruit-based desserts even though they’re Erik’s favorite, so I wanted to do something at least fruit-adjacent this week. And I wanted to make a bar cookie because they’re fast and easy.

So I had this great plan that I’d make pretty marbled cheesecake bars with my favorite fruit spread of all time – Wild Maine Blueberry Jam from Stonewall Kitchen. More on why that was only an OK plan later.

Start by making the the crust. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor and combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, mixing together with your fingers until it forms a wet-sand-like texture.

Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan lined with tin foil. You really want to press down hard so everything stays together on this.

Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium low speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute.

Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, another minute.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.

Add the sour cream and beat to combine, scraping down the sides if necessary.

Hopefully you remembered to pull the crust out of the oven after 10 minutes. Pour this mixture over the crust and use an offset spatula to smooth the top if necessary.

If you’re swirling in anything, this is the stage to do it – dollop whatever you’re using on top, and use a butter knife to swirl into the batter. Unfortunately, Wild Maine Blueberry Jam is not a good swirling ingredient – I had forgotten that the texture is basically just blueberries in a jar. So mine looked like this:

Decidedly not the marbled effect I was going for. Use something smoother. Seedless. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter would actually be perfect.

Reduce heat on the oven to 325°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until edges are just set but middle still wobbles. Allow to cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack.

Then, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

I say my marbling was still an OK idea because when I cut my bars, they actually looked good studded with blueberries!

These were a big hit. Nice and creamy. Still plenty light. Good, buttery crust. Plus, blueberries.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (5.25 ounces) graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons jam or fruit butter of your choice (I used blueberry)

Directions:

  1. Start with the crust. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for crust and toss with your fingers until mixture resembles wet sand. Press into 8×8 pan lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. Make filling. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium low speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition.
  6. Add sour cream and beat on low speed to combine.
  7. Pour filling over crust and use an offset spatula to smooth top.
  8. Dollop jam over top of filling and use a butter knife to swirl.
  9. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes, until edges are set and middle still wobbles.
  10. Cool completely at room temperature on a wire rack. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill.

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