Monday, August 1, 2011
Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Posted by: Maggie
Blueberry and lemon is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. I have been sitting on this recipe for over two years, ever since Emily first posted it on her blog. I'm not sure why it took me so long to make this, but I am kicking myself for not making it sooner. These things are delicious. Thank goodness I gave most of them away, because I could have easily polished off the pan.
Fortunately for my waistline, my dad moved to Arlington, Virginia (precisely 3.1 miles away from me!) on Sunday, and I was able to give most of these bars to him. I'm so excited to have him living here in the area. The rest of my immediate family all lives in New Jersey (now including co-blogger Annie - she just moved back to Jersey from Philly), and it's nice to know he's just a short drive away!
In unrelated news...
1. I have watched the first two seasons of Friday Night Lights on Netflix Instant in the span of 13 days. I'm not proud of this. I'm just kind of appalled at the level of couch potato commitment that takes, and felt the need to share it. P.S. Watch Friday Night Lights if you don't already. I know I'm turbo late to the party, but now I want to talk to people about Tyra and Landry and how stinkin' cute they are.
2. Jeff and I ended up being hermits on Saturday, and stayed in to watch The Shining (which both of us have seen many, many times) instead of going to see Horrible Bosses as planned. We googled stuff about The Shining while watching, since we're movie trivia nerds, and ended up finding this gem:
Yes, that is a cuckoo clock. Yes, Jack Nicholson pops through on the hour and yells "Hereeeeee's Johnny!" No, it is not available for sale. Yes, I got irrationally angry when I found out it was art, and not a mass produced item.
3. One of my favorite things about having a blog is finding out how readers happened upon our site. I regularly check our stats to see what search terms people are using to find us. Yesterday, someone searched for "my boyfriend calls me a devil." Someone searched for "squirrel sitting in refrigerator" (edited for spelling) a few weeks ago. To both googlers, thanks for stopping by, and I am sorry you only found recipes here instead of useful solutions to your problems. To devil girlfriend, I suggest telling your boyfriend that said nickname hurts your feelings. To squirrel person, I suggest donning protective clothing, gloves, and head gear, opening your fridge slowly, and letting the squirrel out. I would not suggest cooking it, as I hear they are gamey. That is your daily advice, courtesy of A Bitchin' Kitchen.
I will stop rambling and give you the recipe now!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
12 ounces (1.5 packages) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons, grated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
1 pint blueberries
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang to lift bars out. Spray foil thoroughly with cooking spray.
For the crust, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. The mixture will be crumbly; that's how it's supposed to look! Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the filling, beat together cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in a medium sized bowl. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond extract, and beat thoroughly to combine. Beat in the eggs until combined (about 1 minute). Pour the filling over the top of the crust, and sprinkle with blueberries. Return pan to oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until set.
To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, flour, toasted almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together until mixed. Knead in pieces of butter using a fork or pastry blender until butter is well incorporated. What I do at this point to make sure I get sizable crumble chunks on my dessert is this: Take the crumble mixture you just make, and pack it into two or three balls. Crumble the ball into pieces. This way, chunks will stay together and you will get the perfect crumble texture. I just typed crumble a lot. Crumble, crumble, crumble. Sprinkle the crumbles over the cheesecake layer. Return pan to oven, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for an hour before lightly covering and chilling for 2 hours.
Slice into 15 bars, and enjoy!
Source: Sugar Plum