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RECIPE: Blueberry Cheesecake Bars For National Cheesecake Day

Whip up cheesecake bars for National Cheesecake Day, July 30th.

These were developed for the U.S. High bush Blueberry Council by Emily Hobbs of Ozark, Missouri. There are many more great blueberry recipes on the website.

A layer of crunchy crust, followed by fluffy whipped cheesecake topped with toasted almonds and blueberries? Say no more – I’m yours! These Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are so good you’ll be licking your fingers for every last bit. Because you cut them into squares, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are great to pack for a picnic, dinner at a friend’s, or a family road trip.
 
 
RECIPE: BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS

Ingredients For 24 Bars

  • ½ cup plus 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (1½ packages), softened
  • 2½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  •   Blueberry Cheesecake Bars Recipe
    [1] A stack of cheesecake bars.

    Highbush Blueberries
    [2] Fresh-picked blueberries (both photos courtesy U.S Highbush Blueberry Council).

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-by 9-inch baking pan.
    2. SOFTEN ½ cup of the butter and combine it with ½ cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy. Add 2 cups of flour, the baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Beat until crumbly.

    3. TRANSFER the crumbs to the baking pan and pat to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes until the surface is dry but not browned. Meanwhile, in the same mixer bowl…

    4. BEAT the cream cheese, the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, and almond extract until fluffy. Beat in the eggs until combined. When the crust has baked…

    5. SPREAD spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the top and bake 20 minutes until the cheesecake has set.

    6. STIR together the brown sugar, remaining ¾ cup flour, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the brown sugar mixture. Work the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until uniform crumbs have formed. Stir in the almonds.

    When the cheesecake layer has baked…

    7. SPRINKLE the blueberries and crumb mixture over it and bake 20 minutes until the crumbs have browned. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours until the cheesecake is firm, before cutting into 24 bars.
     
     
    THE TWO TYPES OF BLUEBERRIES

  • Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) grow on tall bushes; some cultivars reach a height of 6 to 8 feet. The berries are larger and more abundant than lowbush blueberries, although their flavor may be somewhat less intense and sweet.
  • Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), also referred to as wild blueberries, grow in Maine and the colder regions of eastern North America. The shrubs grow no taller than two feet and may be smaller, depending on soil and climate, and produce small, exceptionally sweet bluish-black berries. If you want to plant a bush or two, these are hardy plants that do well in all soils, even poor, rocky types, providing the drainage is good.
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