Summertime Living

A classic dessert makes for a relaxed end to a summer meal.

Cheesecake bars, Image by Rachel Johnson

These delightfully decadent cheesecake bars are perfect for bake sales or family gatherings. No springform pan required.

CHEESECAKE BARS:

Makes: 12 bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30–40 minutes

Crust:

1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

16 ounces (2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup heavy cream

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. To make crust: Stir together crumbs, sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter; press mixture into bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking dish using the bottom of a flat cup or measuring cup. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set.

3. Remove crust from the oven; cool 5 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325°F.

4. To make filling: Combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl; stir until smooth. Add cream, eggs, vanilla and zest; mix until combined, scraping sides and bottom of bowl while mixing.

5. Spoon filling into crust; bake 30 to 40 minutes or until set.

6. Let bars cool in pan; set on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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