High Country Baking: Lemon cream cheese bars

With a graham-cracker crust and a wealthy, easy filling, these lemon cream cheese bars are like cheesecake however lots simpler to arrange.
Photograph by Vera Dawson / Excessive Nation Baking

As quickly as there’s a touch of spring, I flip to recipes that decision for lemons. I feel their shiny colour and contemporary style match the season. On the primary delicate day in April, I made these lemon cream cheese bars and have had requests for extra of them ever since. With a graham-cracker crust and a wealthy, easy filling, they’re like cheesecake however lots simpler to arrange. They’re a stunning dessert accompanied by a rosette of whipped cream and a scatter of contemporary berries, or minimize them smaller and serve them as a cookie.

The energy of the lemon taste is as much as you. Two tablespoons of contemporary juice leads to a gentle taste, so add as much as one other tablespoon or somewhat extra lemon oil if you would like extra pucker.

Lemon cream cheese bars

Make in an 8-by-8-inch shiny metallic baking pan. Works at any elevation.


  • 1 1/4 cups finely floor graham crackers (seven to eight 2-by-5-inch crackers)
  • 3-3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, ideally superfine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons contemporary lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 giant eggs, room temperature


Preheat the oven to 350 levels with a rack within the heart place. Line your pan with nonstick aluminum foil or common foil, extending it a number of inches on two reverse sides to make use of as handles when eradicating the baked bars. Grease the common foil and any uncovered elements of the pan with a baking spray that incorporates flour, and set the pan apart.

Make the crust: Mix the bottom crackers and three tablespoons of melted butter in a bowl and stir/toss till effectively mixed. Squeeze some between your fingers: It ought to simply maintain collectively. If it doesn’t, add the extra half tablespoon of melted butter, somewhat at a time, till it does. An excessive amount of butter will make the crust arduous to chop, so add solely sufficient for the cracker crumbs to carry collectively. Pour the combination into the ready pan, easy and degree it, and bake till the crust is about, about 8-10 minutes. Take away and funky on a rack.

Make the filling: Lower the cream cheese into 16 items and place them within the bowl of a meals processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the sugar, zest/oil, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pulse till the combination is totally easy. Add the eggs, one after the other, pulsing after every addition, stopping as quickly because it’s blended. In case you over-process the filling, it will probably turn into skinny and runny. This step can be achieved with an electrical mixer at medium pace.

Scrape the filling over the crust and degree it. Bake till the filling is sort of set however nonetheless quivers within the heart if you jiggle the pan. Don’t overbake otherwise you’ll lose the velvety texture. Take away the pan to a rack and funky utterly. Then, frivolously cowl the pan and refrigerate for not less than 4 hours.

Take the chilled dessert out of the fridge and use the foil handles to take away the baked slab. With a thin-bladed, sharp knife, slice it into bars, cleansing the knife after every minimize. Lower 3-inch squares if serving for dessert or 1-inch squares if serving as a cookie. Retailer coated within the fridge for as much as three days.

Editor’s observe: This recipe is a variation of 1 printed by Philadelphia Model Cream Cheese.

Vera Dawson

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