Sweets & Desserts
Strawberry-Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
These Strawberry-Lemon Cream Cheese Bars taste of sunny afternoons spent lounging on a blanket in the grass.
- Min 60
- Serves 9
|½ cup||Whole-wheat pastry flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)|
|¼ cup||All-purpose flour|
|¼ cup||Powdered sugar|
|¼ tsp.||Lemon zest|
|⅛ tsp.||Kosher salt|
|6 Tbsp.||Cold butter, cut into small pieces|
Cream Cheese Filling
(two 8-oz. blocks)
|Light cream cheese, softened (do not use fat-free)|
|½ cup||Granulated sugar|
|¼ cup||Plain non-fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature|
|2||Grade A Large Phil’s Fresh Eggs, at room temperature|
|1||Grade A Large Phil’s Fresh Egg Yolk, at room temperature|
|1 Tbsp.||Fresh lemon juice|
|2 tsp.||Lemon zest|
|¼ tsp.||Pure vanilla extract|
|¾ Cup||Strawberry preserves|
|Fresh sliced strawberries and/or lemon slices, for garnish when serving|
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8” x 8” pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, making the piece of parchment long enough that you have two “handles” hanging over the side. Lightly grease parchment with cooking spray.
- For Shortbread Crust: In the bowl of a food processor, lightly pulse the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse just until mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse cornmeal. (If not using a food processor, cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture, until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.) The mixture will feel dry to the touch. Press it onto bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until barely light brown. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
- For Cream Cheese Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese for 1 full minute, then beat in the granulated sugar and cornstarch for 3 additional minutes. Beat in the yogurt; then beat in the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time, fully incorporating between each addition. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed and run your spatula along the bottom of the bowl to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated. Beat in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.
- Spread the strawberry preserves over the cooled shortbread crust in an even layer. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the preserves, spreading it all the way to the edges. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is mostly set but still jiggles slightly in the center when the pan is wiggled. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a wire rack at room temperature for 45 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 3 hours. Remove from pan using parchment “handles.” Cut into bars; serve garnished with strawberry and lemon slices as desired.
Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, leave bars ungarnished, wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic, and freeze for up to 1 month. Let thaw in the refrigerator, then garnish with fruit just before serving.