Monday, April 16, 2012

Fresh blueberry cheesecake bars with coconut crust

Hmmmm… who doesn’t love cheesecake!?  
Well, these Fresh Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are exactly that.  Yummy! 
I wanted to make some sort of cheesecake item for Easter this year.  Cheesecake is always a hit in our family -- (Faye has a recipe that is delicious!) Since I knew we were going to have quite a big group this year for Easter I wanted to make desserts that were easy to grab …… so this year my Easter basket included:  Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies, homemade Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting and these delicious Fresh Blueberry Cheesecake Bars.
The bars were the perfect size to get your cheesecake fix without having to eat a whole cheese cake.  The cheesecake had a sweet vanilla-lemon flavor with a burst of blueberry in every bite, and the crust, with its addition of sweet coconut, added just enough texture to complete this bar.  I truly loved this cheesecake bar and will keep it in my ‘go-to’ file for the future. 
Enjoy  ….  And Happy Cooking everyone.

Fresh Blueberry Bars with a Coconut Crust
                                  (adapted from Better Home and Gardens recipe)
½  cup unsalted butter
¾ cup crushed graham crackers
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup ground pecans
¼  cup sugar
½ cup of flaked coconut (packed)
12 oz cream cheese (1 ½ -8oz  packs), softened
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups of fresh blueberries

Preheat oven 350
1.       Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil.  Leave enough on the sides so you can easily lift bars from the pan once cooled.
2.       Starting with the crust:
a.        melt butter in small sauce pan at medium heat.  Continue to stir until butter is a light golden color. Remove from stove.
b.      In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, pecans and sugar.  Add coconut.

c.       Add butter to the mixture, stirring until all the ingredients are well combined.

d.      Pour crust mixture on to the 13x9x2 baking pan.   Spread out evenly to cover bottom and press down lightly.

e.      Bake crust for 10 minutes until crust is lightly brown. Remove from oven.
f.        While crust is baking, start the filling.
3.       Filling:
a.       In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar, beating until well blended.

b.      Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
c.       Add heavy cream, vanilla and lemon juice to the cream cheese egg mixture. Beat an additional 2 minutes.
d.      Pour cream cheese batter over warm crust
e.      Sprinkle the fresh blueberries evenly over cream cheese batter.
4.       Bake for 20 minutes at 350.  Check to make sure that the middle has set with either a fork or tooth pick. It should come out clean.
5.       Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Using foil edges, pull bars out of pan and cool another 30 minutes.

6.       Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
7.       Cut into bars ( I got about 20, recipe states you should get 32)

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