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Family Friendly Fridays: Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

I was supposed to be making a tart with my brand new tart pan.  At least that was the original intention.  In the end it turned out more like a bar made in a tart pan.  This is the second time that my attempts at “tart creation” have been thwarted.  The first time involved rhubarb and wouldn’t you guess, cream cheese.  It was a sloppy finish and in the end I had to mix the whole concoction together, throw it in a pie crust and freeze it.  The pie was delicious, but it definitely didn’t qualify for tart status.  I swear, one of these days I’m going to set out to make a tart and succeed.  Until that day comes though, this bar definitely suffices and serves to calm my ever nagging sweet tooth.

Think cookie crust with just a hint of lemon zest meets smooth as silk almondy cream cheese middle and hug it all together with a slightly tart red raspberry sauce that serves to balance the overall sweetness of the confection.  Combine this melody of flavors and what do you have?  One harmoniously empty plate, that’s what.

I’m assuming you can’t get to the kitchen fast enough to whip a plate up for yourself, so let me end the suspense and show you how it’s done.

To get started you’ll want to grab up a pile of butter and cream it together with a little bit of sugar.  Yum.  Yum.

Add in all the liquid goodness and a little lemon zest for good measure.

Now add in your flour and make it into a dough.  Chill it for about 30 or so minutes to firm it up and then push it into the bottom of your tart pan (or 9×13 works well too).

Cook it up until it’s golden brown and beautiful.  Hello cookie crust.   Don’t you look fine.

Let it cool completely and get to work on the cream cheese filling.

In your mixer, whip together a little cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and almond extract.

But why stop there when you can whip up some heavy cream and fold it into that cream cheese goodness?

Place your finished creation on top of the cookie and smooth it out all pretty like.

Pop the pan back in the fridge to continue chilling and move on to the final (and best in my most humble opinion) piece of the recipe.

Grab a pot and cook up a quick raspberry sauce.  Love me some raspberries.

Chill the sauce completely before serving it up.

And are you ready?  Grab a little bit of this…

…and pour a little bit of this over the top.  Tart Shmart.  I’ll take the bar baby.

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Total Time: 55 min

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Crust:

2 Sticks Butter
1 Cup white Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Small Lemon, Zested
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
11/2 Cups Flour

For the Cream Cheese Layer

1 8 Oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 14 Oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

For the Raspberry Sauce:

1 Cup + 2 Tbsp Water
1/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Cups Frozen Raspberries
2 Tbsp Corn Starch

Directions:

For the Cookie Crust:

Cream together the butter with the two sugars.
Add in the lemon zest, egg, and vanilla. Mix well.
Add in the salt and flour.Combine to form a dough.
Place dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.
After chilled, form into tart pan (9x13 works as well) and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown around edges.
Let cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

In a mixer, whip together the cream cheese, almond extract and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Set aside.
Whip the heavy cream until it becomes whipped cream.
Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Chill.

For the Raspberry Sauce:

Combine 1 cup of the water, the raspberries and the sugar into a small pot and set to medium high heat.
Mix together the remaining 2 Tbsp of cold water with the corn starch. When the raspberry mixture begins to boil, add in the cornstarch slurry and let boil for a minute or so until thickened.
Remove from heat and place in the fridge until cooled completely.

To assemble:

Pour cream cheese mixture over cookie crust and let set in fridge for at least an hour. Serve with raspberry sauce spooned over the top.