Spring is here! Or summer, if you live here in Phoenix, where it almost reached 100 degrees last week. Either way, I love this weather and the fresh fruits that come with it. I bought the berries for this recipe from the Phoenix Public Market last weekend, and they were so delicious that they almost didn’t make it into these bars. Farmer’s markets are a great source of fresh, local ingredients for baking, and I’m lucky that this one is open year round!
The nice thing about this recipe is that you have the freedom to use any type of berry, or even a combination! This time I chose blueberries and blackberries together. If you want to use something larger, like strawberries, just be sure to chop them into halves or quarters so that the bars can still be cut up easily. As always, fresh is better but frozen berries will work as long as you let them defrost before adding to the batter.
As far as getting your graham crackers ground into crumbs, there are a few options. I personally choose to throw them in my food processor and pulse until there are no large chunks. It’s very simple and creates no mess! You can also crush by hand with any kitchen tool in a bowl or sealed bag. I also recently found out that stores now sell graham cracker crumbs in a box already ground up. A more expensive but less time-consuming option.
This recipe is very simple to put together, but does need to cool and refrigerate for at least 6 hours so I like to make it the day before I need it. You really don’t want to rush the cooling process because this is when the cheesecake firms up and will become fully set. Using room temperature cream cheese when combining is also important, so give it time to sit out before you start as well. These bars should be easy to make and taste great but feel free to let me know in the comments!
1 cup crushed graham crackers
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1 1/2 cup fresh berries
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour
12 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8×8 pan.
2. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into prepared pan and press down evenly to cover the bottom.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
4. While crust is baking, gently fold berry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Using a mixer, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar on high until smooth. Beat in eggs, and then remaining filling ingredients.
6. Pour batter on the baked crust and evenly drop the berries on top. Return to oven until it is mostly set and has golden brown edges, about 40 minutes.
7. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for 4 hours (or more) before cutting into squares.
Cheesecake continues to firm up as it cools, so be sure to remove from the oven while it still jiggles some when shaken.
Recipe adapted from Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars.View more articles written by Britta.