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Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Woah. These Strawberry Cheesecake Bars are truly unreal. They are the ideal creamy, decadent summertime dessert! And using fresh-picked strawberries puts them over the top. I made these for Father’s Day and they were a hit— you need these at your next BBQ or gathering this summer! Everyone will LOVE them!


Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Serving Size: One 9×13 pan
Total Time: 60 minutes


INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 20 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt


Cheesecake Filling:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (I like to use full-fat), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


Strawberry Mixture:

  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, diced
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract)


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Graham Cracker Crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined. Press firmly into an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until set. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.
  3. Strawberry Mixture: While the crust is baking, add strawberries, maple syrup, cornstarch, lemon juice, and almond extract to a medium pot over medium heat. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 5-7 additional minutes, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Whipped Cream: Place a small bowl in the freezer for 15-20 minutes prior to this step. Pour heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla into the cold bowl and whisk with an electric mixer on high speed until medium peaks form.
  5. In a separate large bowl, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the yogurt and lemon juice just until combined, about 30 seconds. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread the filling on the graham cracker crust in an even layer.
  6. Once the strawberry mixture has cooled completely, pour on top of the cream cheese mixture. If desired, use a knife or rubber scraper to swirl the strawberry and cream cheese layers together. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill. Enjoy!

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love always, nik

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