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Cheesecake Squares Recipe & Video

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I'm always looking for different ways to make a cheesecake. So for this recipe I decided to make it in bar form. Cheesecake Squares (or Bars) are baked in a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) rectangular pan making them ideal for a large crowd. They still combine the grainy texture of a Graham Cracker Crust with a smooth and creamy Cream Cheese Filling. Only the filling is a much thinner layer. And I like that. You can serve this as a plated dessert, with fresh berries, a fruit or chocolate sauce, or even lemon curd. But my favorite way is to just pick one up and eat it out of hand.    

 

Cheesecake Squares begin with a Graham Cracker Crust, although you can also use crushed Digestive Biscuits. When crushed and mixed with melted butter, Graham Crackers make a very nice pastry crust. There are two ways to set the crust. One is to simply chill it in the refrigerator. The other way, which I used in this recipe, is to bake it just until set. When making this type of crust, always press the crumbs evenly and firmly into your pan and while the crust may seem loose, it will harden after it bakes and cools.

The main component in a cheesecake filling is cream cheese, which is a white, soft, and spreadable cheese with a slightly tangy flavor. It has a 33% butterfat content so its texture is wonderfully smooth and creamy. To ensure a smooth texture, free of lumps, always bring the cream cheese to room temperature before beating. After adding the other ingredients the filling is poured over the crust and baked just until it sets.

Note: You can bake these Squares in an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Simply half the recipe. Baking time will be about the same.

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Cheesecake Squares: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Have ready a 9 x 13 x 2 inch (23 x 33 x 5 cm) baking pan that has been lined with foil (or parchment paper) across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan. Lightly butter or spray the foil with a non stick vegetable cooking spray.

Graham Cracker Crust: In a small bowl combine the Graham Cracker Crumbs and melted butter (can do this step in a food processor). Press mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Set aside to cool.

Cheesecake Filling: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Pour the cheesecake filling over the Graham Cracker Crust and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until the cheesecake batter is just set.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours to make the squares easier to cut. To cut into squares - place on a cutting board, remove the foil, and with a sharp knife, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares. Have a damp cloth on hand to wipe the knife between cuts. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes about 24 - 2 inch (5 cm) squares.

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Graham Cracker Crust:

2 cups (200 grams) Graham Cracker Crumbs (about 13 Graham Crackers) or crushed Digestive Biscuits (about 14 Digestive Biscuits)

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Cheesecake Filling:

2 - 8 ounce packages (450 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 tablespoon (15 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of lemon) (one medium lemon)

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs (100 grams), at room temperature

Garnish: (Optional)

Fresh Berries

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