Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cheesecake Squares

Ah, cheesecake. I love to eat the creamy dessert but I've never made one myself – until now.

My brother wears the cheesecake crown in my family. He makes a traditional Italian ricotta cheesecake every year for Christmas that used to be the only version of this delicacy I would eat. (Note to self: Ask Greg to do a guest blog in December!)

Now enter my husband, who also loves cheesecake. When we were planning our reception, he was pretty psyched when he discovered that cheesecake was a filling choice for the wedding cake.

My DH celebrated a milestone birthday in June. At his office, the birthday person brings treats for everyone. My guy usually brings dozens of bagels, but when he asked if I would make something, I decided it was time to try my hand at cheesecake.

I opted for cheesecake squares because they are portable and easy to eat. This recipe whips up quickly and will definitely satisfy your cheesecake cravings.

Mangia! Mangia!

Cheesecake Squares

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

4 bars cream cheese, softened or at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: If you want less cheesecake, cut the recipe in half and use an 8 x 8 baking dish.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Mixture should resemble a crumbly paste. Pour into baking dish and spread out so that it covers the entire dish. Press the mixture down, using your fingers, the back of a spoon or a flat spatula. Set aside.

To make the filling, place all of the cream cheese in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sour cream and sugar and beat until everything is well combined.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat again to incorporate flavoring.

Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of crust. Spread out evenly and smooth the top with a flat spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until edges start the brown and the middle is no longer jiggly. Turn off oven and prop open the oven door. Let cheesecake cool in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To cut into bars, grab edges of foil and lift cheesecake from pan. Place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Wipe knife dry after each slice.

Top with fresh berries, if desired.

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