Lemon Cheesecake Bars

A majority of the time, I have a reading problem. 

My brain fritzes out, eyes glaze over... who knows what happens. 

I just end up with a bunch of wrong answers on a test or some surprisingly lemony cheesecake bars!

These are the same bars that Em made over winter break, except with a few modifications!

I totally misread the recipe and added the juice of an entire lemon. Turns out, I actually prefer it with this extra lemony kick!

Since this was also a part of a little celebration, we added some chocolate swirls for some extra happiness.

While I only added the juice of 1 lemon, I'm sure if you wanted some extra lemon-ness (like Kay most definitely will), you could add another 1/2 lemon or 1 tbsp. 

Another note, be careful to not add too much chocolate on top at once. Otherwise you might end up with actual chunks of chocolate that didn't spread out.

I'll also admit that I somehow lost count of how many graham crackers I had broken into a bowl...seriously. Baking after a long day wasn't the best idea!

Recipe (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
Makes: 16 bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars 

7 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup yogurt
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(the crust)
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing excess to hang over the edges. Grease foil.
Process graham crackers in food processor to fine crumbs. Add in butter, brown sugar, flour, salt; pulse to incorporate. Sprinkle into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake until just starting to brown [ 12 to 15 mins ] and then remove from oven.

(the filling)
With an electric mixer on medium high, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar and beat until incorporated.

Slowly add eggs and mix until combined. Add sour cream (we used plain yogurt as a substitute!), lemon juice, and vanilla, and mix. Pour over the baked crust.

Chocolate: 3 oz semisweet chocolate and 2 tbsp heavy cream 

Melt bittersweet chocolate with cream (1-3 minutes in microwave) and pour over the top and use knife to pull chocolate through top in order to create swirl effect. We didn't do this, but I'll bet it makes the cake even more delicious!

Bake for 35 to 40 mins, when the edges are set, but the center still jiggles slightly. Cool completely for 2 hours. Then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Using the foil sling, lift bars from pan and cut into squares.

Kay has many talents, like drawing super awesomely. She drew the cutest little people for ATK's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie extravaganza a while back!  She's started a little tumblr  to showcase all her talent. It's full of med school-nerdy-science humor with really cute drawings. Check it out here! 


  1. [1] As soon as I read 'turns out I actually prefer it with [1 whole lemon]' I was like 'turns out'? Doesn't she mean 'obviously'?! And THEN I got to the part 'like Kay most definitely will' and I almost keeled over giggling. You know me too well, M.
    [2] Losing count of the graham crackers? This also does not sound like such a terrible thing. ;) More crust is better!
    [3] An interesting combination--chocolate and lemons? I have never tried this before, but my palate is excited to be introduced to it in the future.
    [4] My brain is also broken. Let's go find a junk yard where they'll pay us for our scrap metal.

  2. this lemony treat sounds so good! cant wait to get a bite of it!


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