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Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Lemon Cheesecake Bars: layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and lemon cookie bars! One of the most delicious desserts ever, you won’t be able to stop eating these!
If any of you follow my blog for new updates, you may have noticed last week I dropped to only two new recipes. I meant to share these Lemon Cheesecake Bars on Thursday…but I was curled up in a ball crying in the corner.
You see. As excited as I am that my son has plans for his post high school life…it also terrifies me. I have mentioned before that he is heading off to Marine boot camp this summer. Well, we found out his date has moved up and it’s 3 weeks away.
I just want to hold and protect him forever. But you see, that’s the switch that happened. I’ve spent the past 18 years loving him, helping him learn and grow into the man he is today. 18 years of protecting him.
Now, he is the one who is leaving the nest to protect ME. And you. I’m so extremely proud and humbled by this thought. So bear with me the next few weeks as I am sure to be a mess of emotions!
INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE CRUST:
  • 2 cup Nilla Wafers, crumbs (about 60 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
  • 2 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested
FOR THE COOKIE LAYER:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 11oz white chocolate morsels (I use Ghirardelli)


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Line a 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse Nilla Wafer cookies with sugar until fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.
  3. Press crumbs into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Using the palm of your hand, press crumbs firmly until they are pressed into the bottom of the dish.
  4. For the filling, beat cream cheese with sugar, eggs, lemon extract and lemon zest using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer. Beat until fluffy and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Pour over cookie crust.
  5. For the cookie dough, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined. Add in baking powder, salt and flour, beating until fully blended. Fold in white chocolate morsels. Scoop dough by large spoonfuls onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Use your fingertips to spread gently until covered.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. The center will still be jiggly, that's okay. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight). Slice and serve COLD. Enjoy!