Raspberry Lemonade Bars

My post from last week really had me reminiscing of summer! I work in a clothing store so we’ve had shorts, skirts, and summer dresses on the sales floor for quite a while now and we’ve been encouraged to dress summery—but it’s so hard to do that when it’s so cold outside! I’ve spent the past while cleaning out my closet and bringing my summer clothes forth while pushing my sweaters to the back. It might be a little too early, but this girl is ready for summer!

Nothing says “summer” to me like an ice-cold glass of lemonade! My family would always vacation in Florida in the summer and every restaurant we visited had a deliciously flavoured lemonade on the menu! Some of my favourites included strawberry lemonade and raspberry lemonade. This week’s recipe—similar to last week’s recipe—is inspired by the nostalgia of the summer. I took the concept of raspberry lemonade and turned it into one of my favourite desserts: cheesecake!

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Presenting to you, my raspberry lemonade bars! Sitting on top of a delicious graham cracker crust is a lemon cheesecake swirled with fresh raspberry juice. I topped each bar with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and I saved a little raspberry juice to garnish as well. My parents were so incredibly pleased with these. They’d be the perfect dessert to follow a picnic or a delicious barbecue in the summer.

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A couple of notes where I troubleshooted—I baked mine in a 9x14 pan which I soon realized was a mistake because I had to make an extra crust and my cheesecake layer was a little thinner than I had hoped. I altered the recipe for you guys so you can bake in an 8x8 square dish and I’ve upped the baking time a little. You’ll notice that your bars come out a little thicker than my photos and might need a little longer to bake. Personally, I think they’d be much better if the cheesecake to graham cracker crust ratio was higher, so that’s why I made a few alterations to the recipe.

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RASPBERRY LEMONADE BARS

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

 

Cheesecake:

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp lemon juice

Zest from 1 lemon

 

Raspberry swirl

1/2 cup rasberries

2 tbsp granulated sugar

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.      Preheat oven to 350F.

2.      In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with butter. Press into the bottom of a greased square baking dish.

3.      In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Fold in the lemon zest.

4.      Pour onto the top of the graham cracker crust.

5.      Mash the raspberries with a fork. Press the mashed berries through a strainer to remove the seeds. Stir in sugar, then spoon onto cheesecake layer and swirl with a knife. I recommend saving a little because it tastes amazing as a topping on the baked bars!

6.      Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, then allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before cutting and serving.