Honey Lemon Cheesecake Bars with Teddy Graham Crust

May 21st

Now that baby girl is over the age of 1, I’ve found a new appreciation for honey. Sweet as sugar but a much more natural sweetener option. Tess loves it and I’m quickly realizing how great it is to bake with. Cue these bars!

On Epicurious they show “menu plans” and under a Winnie the Pooh themed party I read a recipe for honey lemon cheesecake. By the way, how cute is a Winnie the Pooh themed party? I like to talk about themed parties but when I finally got to throw one for my own kid, the theme was “these plates were on sale”.

Anyways, the flavor combo sounded fab so with a little reworking I put this together. I perused the cookie isle for a crust option and happened upon Teddy Grahams. Like regular grahams, but with more sugar and shaped like bears. Have you had a Teddy Graham lately? I hid the leftover cookies from my husband so I could eat them all myself – so good.
The crust tasted almost like shortbread when all was said and done, and complemented the cheesecake so well. Since the recipe makes 24 bars I was able to bring the dessert to a friend’s house where it served 8 people (the boys all had two squares), left four bars home for my babysitter to snack on, and brought the remains to my in-laws the following afternoon. Great responses all round. I’m remembering this recipe the next time I have to go to a big potluck-style barbecue – plates and forks nice but not necessary!
Honey Lemon Cheesecake Squares with Teddy Graham Crust
Makes 24
Crust
3 1/2 c. honey teddy grahams
4 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. honey
Filling
8 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. lowfat cream cheese
3 eggs
3 tbsp. milk
5 tsp. lemon zest (2 large lemons)
3 tbsp. lemon juice (1 large lemon)
2/3 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process cookies in food processor until finely ground. Add melted butter and honey and process until it comes together, about ten pulses.
2. Dump mixture into a 9×12 baking dish and press to flatten across the bottom of the dish.
3. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove crust and reduce oven temperature to 325.

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4. Clean out food processor. Place cream cheeses, eggs, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and vanilla into food processor. Blend until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.
5. Pour mixture into cooked crust. Place dish in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least three hours or up to 24 hours.
7. With a serrated knife dipped in warm water, slice into 24 bars.
8. Serve, drizzled with more honey and if desired, crumbled teddy grahams.

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