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Cooking

Recipes for cheesecake bars

Make a sweet treat, but not the same old chocolate, for Valentine’s Day.

Give Raspberry Cheesecake Bars to someone you love.

James Scherer

Give Raspberry Cheesecake Bars to someone you love.

TIP Lightly scoring the bars before adding the topping layer helps it cling.

RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS

Makes about 20 2-by-2½-inch bars 

Cooking spray

40 plain chocolate wafer cookies from a 9-ounce package

Salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon

2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon plain powdered gelatin

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

40 raspberries (about 1 pint)

Continue reading below

With rack in center position, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Cut a piece of foil or parchment as wide as the pan and about 22 inches long and fit it into the sprayed pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides at either end (there should be a couple of inches of overhang at both ends). Spray the foil or parchment with cooking spray and set pan aside.

TIP: Lightly scoring the bars before adding the topping layer helps it cling.

TIP: Lightly scoring the bars before adding the topping layer helps it cling.

In a food processor, process the cookies and a pinch of salt to fine crumbs, about 15 seconds (you should have about 2 cups). With the motor running, slowly add the melted butter through the feed tube and process until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 20 seconds. Pour the mixture into the pan and press hard into a layer across the bottom. Bake for 15 minutes, and cool completely on a wire rack (crust will firm up as it cools; leave the oven on).

With a hand-held or standing mixer, beat the granulated sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is moistened and fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, and confectioners’ sugar, and beat at medium-low speed to combine. Adjust the speed to high and continue to beat until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes longer, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add the egg, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon salt, and beat on medium-high speed until uniform, about 40 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Scrape the mixture into the pan over the cooled crust, spread it into an even layer, bake until firm and slightly puffed, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, and cool completely on a rack.

In a small bowl, stir the lemon juice and gelatin and set aside until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, briefly microwave 1 cup of the jam until warm, about 40 seconds. With a fork, beat the jam until smooth and fluid, add the gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve, and set aside to cool a little, about 15 minutes. With a toothpick, very lightly score the surface of the filling (press down any crumbs that come loose), pour on the jam mixture, tilt the pan to cover the surface evenly, and refrigerate to set the topping, about 90 minutes.

Use the ends of the foil or parchment as handles to lift out of the pan, place cheesecake on a cutting board, and cut into 20 2-by-2½ inch bars. In a microwave-safe bowl, briefly microwave the remaining 1 tablespoon jam until warm and fluid, about 20 seconds. Add the raspberries and toss gently. Gently press 2 raspberries onto the center of each bar and serve (or cover very loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days).

Variations 

Continue reading below

 

APPLE SWIRL CHEESECAKE BARS

Makes about 20 2-by-2½-inch bars

 Follow the directions for the Raspberry Cheesecake Bars, making the following changes:

1) For the crust mixture, substitute 8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 30) for the chocolate cookies and increase the initial processing time to about 30 seconds. Form the crust in the pan and bake as directed; gently pat down the crust if it has puffed, and cool.

2) Omit lemon juice, gelatin, jam, and raspberries. Before baking, dollop cup apple butter, about 2 teaspoons per dollop, in about 16 spots evenly spaced across the filling. With the tip of a wooden skewer or toothpick, lightly swirl the apple butter into filling. Bake and cool as directed. Omit topping.

 

APRICOT-LEMON CHEESECAKE BARS

Makes about 20 2-by-2½-inch bars

Follow the directions for the Raspberry Cheesecake Bars, making the following changes:

1) For the crust, substitute 8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 30) for the chocolate cookies and increase the initial processing time to about 30 seconds. Form the crust in the pan and bake as directed; gently pat down the crust if it has puffed, and cool.

2) For the filling, increase the quantity of grated lemon zest to 2 tablespoons and the vanilla to 2 teaspoons. Along with the egg and vanilla add ¼ cup fresh lemon juice.

3) For the topping, substitute warmed, strained apricot preserves for the raspberry jam. If desired, for the fresh raspberries, substitute about 1 teaspoon sliced almonds per bar, lightly toasted and cooled.

   Send comments to cooking@globe.com.

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