Cheesecake Bars

Red, White and Blue style!

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cheesecake bars

Showing your patriotic side for the 4th of July is easy with these American Flag cheesecake bars.

This recipe puts a creative twist on the traditional cheesecake recipe.

The flag design is easy to create and will certainly have your guests talking.

There is even a Light version of this cheesecake bar recipe available, if you are looking to cut down on the calories and fat.

Photo taken by: Ryan Benyl
Styling by: Stephana Bottom

Flag Cheesecake Bars

Prep 30 min. Bake 1 hr. 5 min. Chill 6 hr.

CRUST -

1/2 cup whole almonds

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

FILLING -

3 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

80 fresh ripe blueberries (about 1 cup)

1 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jelly

Makes 16 servings

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil; leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Mist foil with cooking spray.

Make Crust: Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add flour, brown sugar and salt, and process until well combined. Add butter and pulse just until mixture begins to come together; it should not form a ball. Press mixture evenly over bottom or prepared pan. Bake for 25 min., or until set. Let cool on a wire rack.

Make Filling: In a large bowl, beat with mixer on medium-high speed cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla and salt.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust. Tap pan on countertop 3-4 times to burst air bubbles in filling. Place pan on large roasting pan and put in oven. Pour hot tap water into roasting pan until it comes up about an inch around baking pan. Bake for 40 min., or until filling is just set. Cool completely on a wire rack, then cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of pan and onto cutting board. Heat a large sharp knife under hot water; dry knife. Trim off edges of cheesecake. Carefully cut into 16 bars, rinsing knife under hot water and drying thoroughly between each cut.

Transfer bars to a serving platter(s). Decorate each bar with 5 blueberries in upper left corner to resemble stars. Place jelly in a zip-lock bag, seal bag and snip off about 1/6 in. at one bottom corner. Pipe jelly in thin lines on each bar to resemble stripes on a flag (about 4-5 stripes each bar).

Light Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

CRUST -

10 (about 6 oz.) reduced-fat graham crackers, broken into pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

FILLING -

3 (8 oz.) pkgs. Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese), at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

80 fresh ripe blueberries

1 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jelly

Directions:

Prepare crust and filling as above recipe directs with varied ingredients. Cut into 24 bars. Decorate to resemble flags with blueberries and jelly. Serve immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and decorate before serving.

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