Blueberries, lemons, cream cheese, and cookies! What more could you want in a summer dessert?
I recently got a Costco membership and have been going there to get my groceries (and apartment stuff, and maybe some clothes…) Anyways, the other day I went on an empty stomach so naturally I not only ate all of the samples, I bought a ridiculous amount of groceries. One of those items were blueberries. Of course, since I got it at Costco, I had enough blueberries for a family of 10. I not only bought a giant container of blueberries, I also bought a giant tub of cream cheese. So it only made sense to make blueberry cheesecake bars, am I right? And what goes better with blueberries than lemon? Nothing.
I decided to make these summery lemon blueberry cheesecake bars and they were the PERFECT treat. I brought them to a family picnic and they were gone within minutes! As a twist for the crust, I used Pepperidge Farm’s Chessman butter cookies because I had them in the pantry, but you could use any type of butter cookie or graham crackers. The butter cookie crust gives these bars something so much more than your typical graham cracker crust. And the streusel? Don’t even get me started. The streusel is the perfect crunchy sweetness to go on top of these creamy bars.
This recipe requires a lot of time for chilling, so plan accordingly!
For the crust, I used my food processor for grinding up the cookies into fine crumbs. Using your hands and crushing the cookies always leaves the crumbs too coarse. For the streusel topping though, crushing the cookies in a Ziploc bag with your hands works perfectly.
To make the creamy cheesecake part of the bar, I used Philadelphia cream cheese from a tub. I used full fat, but reduced fat should be fine. Important: If using bricks of cream cheese, make sure to soften beforehand! This allows the cream cheese to fully mix with the other ingredients and become nice and smooth.
I always recommend fresh fruit in my recipes, not frozen. Frozen blueberries add too much moisture to the bars, and might make the filling too runny. If it is absolutely necessary for you to use frozen blueberries, allow them to completely thaw and pat dry. Fresh lemon juice is also my preference to bottled, but bottled would work just fine in this recipe. But be sure not to leave out the lemon zest! Zest adds so much more of that lemon-y flavor in these bars.
What are you waiting for? Grab the ingredients, and start baking!