Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake Bars with Ginger Cookie Crust

 

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You GUYS.  Every have one of those culinary experiences that is just magical??  An unexpected combination of flavors that just blows you away?  

That was me the first time I tried a lemon, blackberry, ginger dessert pairing.  It was in the form of this parfait recipe from a Bon Appetit magazine that I made for the first time several years ago and I dream about that sucker regularly.  Well, the other day my sister (the one with the culinary arts degree) and I were trying to come up with a perfect Sunday night treat and we remembered this phenomenal combination.

We invented this bar version and we are in love!  Easy, fairly quick to throw together and just a heavenly mash-up of flavors.

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We started with a soft ginger cookie dough (from my latest favorite cookie recipe!) which we pressed into a pan and baked.  Then we created a smooth and creamy lemon cheesecake filling and swirled lemon curd on top.  Lastly we drizzled each slice with a blackberry sauce and fresh berries.  Mmmmm….amazing!!

Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake Bars with Ginger Cookie Crust

Cookie layer:

1 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
l/4 tsp. cloves
l/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Add egg and molasses and beat until combined.

Whisk dry ingredients together; add to butter mixture and stir by hand just until incorporated.

Spread into greased 9 x 13″ pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Don’t overbake!  Cookie should be set but not crispy.  Chill pan while you make the cheesecake layer.

Lemon Cheesecake Layer:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
1 envelope (2 3/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 pounds (3 bars) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
pinch salt
milk or cream
10 oz. jar store bought lemon curd (I love Trader Joe’s!)

Sprinkle gelatin over lemon juice and set aside as gelatin dissolves.

Beat cream cheese and sugar until light and creamy, beat in egg and salt.  Add lemon juice/gelatin mixture, plus 1/4 cup of lemon curd and mix until combined.  While beater is running, add enough milk or cream to loosen up cheesecake mixture, without making it too runny, probably about 1/4 or so.

Pour cheesecake over cooled cookie layer.  Dollop remainder of lemon curd on top of cheesecake and run a knife through to swirl.  Chill.

Blackberry Sauce:

2 packages blackberries
2-3 Tbs sugar
2-3 Tbs lemon juice

Empty one container of blackberries into a saucepan and heat on medium-low.  Add sugar and lemon juice to taste, occasionally stirring and mashing as blackberries release juices and break up.  If the sauce is too thin, continue to heat until boiling and allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes.

Slice chilled cheesecake bars, drizzle each slice with blackberry sauce and top with a few fresh berries.

Voila!  The perfect creamy dessert with a tangy twist!

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Inspiration came from this amazing cookie recipe and this cheesecake.

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