Vanilla Cheesecake Bars

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Creamy and rich vanilla cheesecake bars with a delicious berry topping

Cheesecake Bars on a plate with berry topping

These cheesecake bars are brought to you in partnership with Kroger and Tillamook. As always, all opinions are my own.

Cheesecake Bars

I haven’t always appreciated vanilla desserts, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever chosen vanilla when chocolate is a choice. However, my toddler is not really a chocolate fan at all (?) and he’s obsessed with everything vanilla. He’ll quickly tell you his favorite treat is a “white milkshake” (what he calls a vanilla milkshake) or or this white chocolate chex mix.

Since I’m totally the person that steals a bite of everything vanilla I ever order for him, it turns out I really like vanilla treats. And I might even pick them over chocolate sometimes. (Who am I!)

One vanilla treat that the toddler loves and I’ve become obsessed with is vanilla cheesecake. A good, creamy, tangy vanilla cheesecake with a simple berry sauce? I really could eat this over chocolate and not even be sorry about it.

A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to visit Detroit, Michigan for a #LegenDairy weekend sponsored by Kroger and Tillamook. Bloggers around the US all met up to celebrate Tillamook products expanding eastward into more Kroger stores. I was so excited to be invited since it’s no secret I’m obsessed with Kroger stores and I’m obsessed with Tillamook products (their Mint Chip Ice Cream is hands down my favorite ice cream).

We learned all about the quality and care that goes into Tillamook products and then spent a full three days eating all the cheese.

We had amazing meals from local chefs that used Kroger and Tillamook products to make us stunning appetizers, meals, and desserts. One of my favorites was a vanilla bean sour cream cheese cake with a simple truth organic berry medley, berry crunch, and meringue. It was the perfect finish to a great dinner and I knew I had to re-create something similar to share with you here. Which brings us to these cheesecake bars with a sugared berry sauce to top it all off.

These cheesecake bars have the perfect proportion of crust to filling, they’re ultra creamy, and the taste is perfection!

Cheesecake bars tips

  • Use room temperature cream cheese: room temperature cream cheese becomes creamier when it is mixed and it incorporates much better with the other ingredients in this recipe. If your cream cheese is too cold, it tends to stay lumpy in the batter doesn’t fully mix. You’ll also likely be tempted to over-beat the batter (which is not good for a cheesecake!) to get rid of the lumps. Quick tip to get room temperature cream cheese: remove the cream cheese from the packaging and microwave in bursts of 15-20 seconds until it is room temperature (not softened or melted at all) It’s also important when you are using room temperature cream cheese that you also use room temperature eggs and sour cream.
  • Don’t over mix the batter:  it’s important to mix the cream cheese enough to remove the lumps and to combine the ingredients sufficiently, but over-mixing the batter will introduce too much air into the mixture. Too much air will cause the cheesecake to rise too quickly in the oven and then fall (how you get cracks in your cheesecake). You also want to mix the cheesecake at low and consistent speeds to again reduce the risk of beating in too much air.
  • Allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature: It might not seem like a big deal to expedite the chilling process of the cheesecake and putting it in the fridge right out of the oven, but it you do this, the cheesecake tends to get an ugly appearance on top. This appearance comes from condensation that forms on top of the too quickly chilled cheesecake. If you chill the cheesecake too quickly, you can also get some cracks in it.

How to make a simple berry sauce to add to your cheesecake bars

The simple berry sauce is very easy to make, but takes a bit of time to prepare. The time is well worth it though because this sauce over a thick and creamy vanilla cheesecake bar makes for one incredible dessert!

  • To start, pour just over 2/3rds the bag of frozen Private Selection Berries into a medium pot. Store the rest of the berries in a small bowl in the fridge.
  • To the pot, add in lemon juice and sugar and bring the berries to a very gentle boil over medium heat. You’ll cook the berries until they are very syrupy, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the berries to slightly cool and then transfer the berries to a blender. You’ll pulse the berries to get a smooth puree.
  • Pass that puree through a fine mesh strainer and use the back of a wooden spoon to push the mixture through. You should just be left with seeds and that’s what you’ll discard.
  • When ready to serve this sauce over the cheesecake bars, stir the full reserved berries into that smooth sauce and spoon right on top of the bars. You want to top the bars RIGHT before eating, so if you won’t be eating it immediately, store the berry sauce in the fridge.

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Vanilla Cheesecake Bars

5 from 5 votes
Creamy and rich vanilla cheesecake bars with a delicious berry topping
Print Recipe

Vanilla Cheesecake Bars

5 from 5 votes
Creamy and rich vanilla cheesecake bars with a delicious berry topping
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cheesecake bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Refrigerate 1 hour
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 16 bars (1 (9x9 pan)
Calories 172kcal
Author Chelsea, cheesecake adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 and 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 graham crackers, measure the crumbs!)
  • 5 tablespoons Tillamook Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

For the Filling

  • 2 packages (8 ounces EACH) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Tillamook Sour Cream (full fat)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (OR 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)
  • 1 large lemon (1 teaspoon EACH: zest and juice) optional
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

For the Berry Sauce

  • 2 packages (16 ounces EACH) Private Selection Triple Berry Medley, slightly thawed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place your oven rack in the middle position. Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper (leaving enough overhang to pull out the bars) and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • For the crust: In a medium sized bowl add the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until completely combined and then press the crust firmly and evenly into the prepared 9 x 9 pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  • For the cheesecake: In a large bowl, combine the ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese, sugar, and flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Beat on LOW speed until it's *just* combined and smooth. Be careful to not overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the slightly cooled crust. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 325 degrees or until the filling is set but slightly jiggles in the center. (The cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools.) Remove the bars from the oven, and cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover tightly and refrigerate until the bars are completely chilled throughout, 6-8 hours.
  • Use the overhang to lift the cheesecake out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve with the berry sauce OR refrigerate (without sauce added) until ready to serve. TIP: to get clean slices, run your knife under hot water for a few seconds, wipe to dry, make 1 slice, and repeat.

Berry Sauce

  • Pour just over 2/3rds of each bag of (slightly thawed) frozen berries into a medium pot. Store the rest of the berries in a small bowl in the fridge.
  • To the pot, add in lemon juice and sugar and bring the berries to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Cook the berries until they are very syrupy, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the berries to slightly cool and then transfer the berries to a blender; pulse the berries to get a smooth puree.
  • Pass that puree through a fine mesh strainer and use the back of a wooden spoon to push the mixture through. (You should just be left with seeds and that's what you'll discard.)
  • When ready to serve this sauce over the cheesecake bars, stir the full reserved berries into that smooth sauce and spoon right on top of the bars. You want to top the bars RIGHT before eating, so if you won't be eating it immediately, store the berry sauce in the fridge separately.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 172kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Creamy and rich BEST EVER vanilla cheesecake bars with a delicious berry topping via chelseasmessyapron.com #vanilla #cheesecake #dessert #easy #best #ever #berry #syrup #desserts #graham #cracker #crust #bake #baking
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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These bars were devoured at my girl’s night! We loved these and I made different fruit sauces that we could try. I can’t wait to make these again!

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