White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory you know that they have a cheesecake to fit everyone’s taste buds. Even a few that combine cheesecake with other favorite desserts – Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake, Funfetti Cake and Tiramisu just to name a few. While I have tasted my fair share of them, my go-to is the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle – a creamy cheesecake swirled with white chocolate and raspberry. YUM! So, when I came across a recipe for White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars I knew I had to try it. It had all of the flavors of my favorite cheesecake but the ease of baking it in a pan to slice as bars as opposed to a traditional cheesecake.

Since the raspberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using it, I opted to make it the night before making the bars and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. In a small bowl I combined a teaspoon each of water and cornstarch. I stirred the two together and then set it aside. In a small saucepan I combined 9oz. of raspberries (1 1/2 cups) along with a teaspoon of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat. As the raspberries began to cook I stirred them and began to mash them up. Once the mixture began to simmer I added in the cornstarch mixture. I continued to stir the mixture while it simmered. After the mixture had been simmering for a few minutes and it appeared as though the raspberries had completely broken down I removed it from the heat and passed it through a sieve over a small container to remove the pulp and the seeds. I was left with about 6 tablespoons of raspberry sauce.

The following morning I began by melting the white chocolate. I chopped up 6oz. of white chocolate and placed it in a heatproof bowl. I placed this bowl over a medium pot of water over medium heat. As the chocolate began to melt I stirred it until it was completely melted. I opted to use Lindt’s White Chocolate Bars found in the candy aisle as opposed to the white chocolate baking bars from either Baker’s or Ghirardelli found in the baking aisle since I was having a hard time finding them. There were plenty of the unsweetened, milk and semi-sweet chocolate bars but no white chocolate ones. The Lindt ones are 4.4oz. each so I used one whole bar and half of another one. I ended up with a little more melted chocolate than the recipe called for but it didn’t alter the final outcome. Once the chocolate was melted I set it aside. I kept an eye on it though because I didn’t want it to solidify, it needed to remain melted.

Next I got to work on making the crust for the bars. I lined a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to make it easier to remove the bars once they were done for slicing. In my food processor I pulsed 20 Oreo cookies into fine crumbs and then combined them with melted butter. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom of my prepared ban and baked in a 350 F preheated oven for about 10 minutes. I removed it from the oven and set it aside while I got to work on the cheesecake filling.

In a large bowl I combined cream cheese and sugar and using a handheld mixer beat the two together until the cream cheese was smooth and creamy. I then added in flour, fresh lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and continued beating the mixture until the additional ingredients were fully combined. Next I added in 2 eggs 1 at a time, beating until the eggs were just combined into the cream cheese mixture. And finally I added in the melted white chocolate. I beat the mixture on low for a few seconds and then gave it a few good stirs with a rubber spatula.

Now it was time to assemble. I poured half of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the pre-baked crust and then using a small offset spatula I spread the mixture evenly over the crust, making sure that I got it into the corners. I drizzled half of the raspberry sauce (about 3 tablespoons) over the cream cheese and then poured the remaining cream cheese mixture over the sauce. Once again using the small off-set spatula to spread the mixture. Finally, I drizzled the remaining sauce over this second layer of cream cheese and then using a knife I gently swirled everything together.

I baked it for 40 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven. The center was set and the edges were just beginning to brown. I let it cool for an hour on a wire rack and then transferred it to the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours I carefully removed it from the pan using the parchment paper overhang and placed it on a cutting board to slice. To create clean slices I cleaned my knife between each slice.

In the end, I ended up with 16 cheesecake bars that were just as good (if not better) as my favorite cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

Raspberry Sauce:

2 teaspoons water, divided

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries*, about 9oz.

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Crust:

20 Oreos

5 tablespoons unsalte butter, melted

 

Cheesecake Filling:

6oz. white chocolate chopped**

2 8oz. bar cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

 

*You can also use frozen strawberries (do not thaw)

**Do not substitute white chocolate chips for the white chocolate. They are not the same thing. White chocolate chips do not contain cocoa butter but do contain a form of oil that may prevent it from melting smoothly further preventing it from incorporating well into the cream cheese filling. If you cannot find white chocolate baking bars in the baking aisle use white chocolate bars found in the candy aisle.

 

Directions:

Raspberry Sauce: Stir together 1 teaspoon of the water with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan combine the raspberries, sugar and the remaining teaspoon of water. Set the saucepan over medium heat and begin stirring the contents together mashing the raspberries as you stir. Once the mixture begins to simmer add in the cornstarch mixture and allow the mixture to continue simmering for a few more minutes. Set a sieve over a small bowl and press the raspberry mixture through the sieve to remove the seeds and pulp from the sauce. Allow the sauce to cool completely before using.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the bars out once done.

Using a double boiler or microwave melt the chocolate. If using the microwave, melt in 20 second increments, stirring after each one until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If using a double boiler, once you see the chocolate is beginning to melt begin stirring it to smooth it out. Once the chocolate is melted set it aside so it can cool while preparing the remaining components of the bars. Do not allow the chocolate to harden though.

In a food processor pulse the Oreos into fine crumbs. Combine the Oreo crumbs and the melted butter in a bowl and stir together until combined. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking pan and press them into the bottom of the pan and then bake the crust for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and set aside while making the filling.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar and using a handheld mixer (you could also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on medium beat the two together until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy. Add in the flour, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and continue beating until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until just combined. Finally, add in the melted chocolate and beat on low until just combined.

Pour half of the cheesecake batter onto the prepared crust. Smooth with a small offset spatula and then drizzle with half of the raspberry sauce. Pour the remaining filling over the sauce and once again smooth with the spatula and then drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the cheesecake filling. Using a toothpick or knife swirl everything together.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, the cheesecake will be set on top and the edges will just be beginning to brown. Place on a wire rack to cool for about an hour and then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours remove the bars from the refrigerator and using the paper overhang remove them from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board to slice. To get clean slices wipe your knife between each slice.

Cover and store leftover bars in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

There are some recipes you see that you know that you must instantly try… As was the case when I got a recipe in my inbox last week from Land O’ Lakes for a Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookie. I pretty much love any pastry / baked item that involves almonds and then when you throw raspberry into the mix you are definitely in for something pretty delicious. Best of all, not only are these cookies amazing, but, they are simple to make and add a festive to look to your holiday cookie platters.

I began by making the dough (obviously… LOL!)… I combined butter, sugar and almond extract in the bowl of my stand mixer and beat it at medium speed until it was well combined, scraping the bowl as necessary. On low speed I added in flour and continued beat the mixture until it was well combined. Once the dough had come together I covered and refrigerated it for an hour or until the dough was firm.

IMG_0070

Once it was firm, I rolled dough into 1-inch sized balls – I used approximately 1/2 tablespoon of dough for each ball.

IMG_0075

Then using the back of a 1/4 teaspoon (you could simply use your thumb as well, hence the name of the cookie) I made a small indentation into the center of each cookie and then filled them with raspberry jam.

IMG_0076

After refrigerating the cookies for about 10 minutes I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12-14 minutes, until the edges just began to brown. You don’t have to refrigerate the cookies prior to baking, but, I did so so that the dough could firm up again a bit so the cookies wouldn’t spread as much while baking. My cookies did spread some so I probably could have left them in the refrigerator a bit longer. After removing them from the oven I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_0083

Once the cookies cooled I drizzled a glaze of water, confectioners’ sugar and almond extract over them.

IMG_0096

One word for these cookies… YUM!

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

  • Servings: 36-42 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup raspberry jam

 

For the Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons water

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

 

Directions:

Combine the butter, sugar and almond extract in a bowl and beat at medium speed until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Switch to low speed and add in the flour, beating well until all the ingredients have been combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F and cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls; approximately 1/2 tablespoon of dough. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Make a small indentation in the center of each of the cookies and fill with a 1/4 teaspoon of the raspberry jam.

You could place the cookies back in the refrigerator for a few minutes for the dough to firm up again, or place them directly in the oven for about 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Let stand on the cookie sheets for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl and whisk together until smooth and then drizzle over the cooled cookies.

Recipe from Land O’ Lakes

Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake

This cake was a few different things before it finally came to be a Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake. First I thought of making a raspberry crumb cake, then I thought of omitting the crumb part and making a raspberry cake with a cream cheese icing drizzle, this is where the lemon came in and I thought of a lemon raspberry cake, then it was a loaf cake and ultimately it became a Bundt cake. While initially I was thinking of sticking with the cream cheese icing drizzle I decided to pass on it so the cake wouldn’t end up being super-sweet. Did you get all that? Long story short… I ended up making a delicious lemon tinged cake that was filled with perfectly sweet raspberries.

IMG_7538

To make the batter I began by creaming together butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy. Following that I added six eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each addition and finally I added in vanilla extract. I put that aside for a moment and in a medium sized bowl I whisked together flour, baking soda and salt. With my mixer set to a lower speed I then added in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with lemon Greek Yogurt.

IMG_7540

And finally I folded in the juice and zest of one lemon and fresh raspberries which I dredged in flour – dredging the berries in flour prevents them from falling to the bottom of the batter while baking.

IMG_7542

I then poured the batter into a Bundt pan which I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven.

IMG_7543

After about 50 minutes the cake was ready to come out of the oven.

IMG_7545

I let it rest in the pan for about 20 minutes and then inverted it onto a wire rack so it could cool completely.

IMG_7553

Once cooled, I couldn’t wait to slice into the cake and enjoy a slice, and I wasn’t disappointed, it was absolutely delish. Just the right amount of lemon flavor and the berries were definitely a nice complement to the citrus flavor. And just as important… It was perfectly moist!

IMG_7574

Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup lemon Greek yogurt*

zest and juice from one lemon

2 cups raspberries, dredged in 2 tablespoons of flour

*I used 2 5.3-ounce containers of Chobani Greek Lemon Yogurt. You can also substitute with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Prep the Bundt pan by spraying it with baking spray or coating it with butter and then dusting it with flour.

2. Using a mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

4. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the yogurt. Mix until just combined.

5. Fold in the raspberries, lemon zest and juice and then transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 – 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

6. Place the cake on a wire rack and let it cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before inverting and letting it cool completely.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I recently went to Georgetown Cupcake – if you haven’t tried them and you get the opportunity to do so definitely do it, even if you have to wait on a ridiculously long line – to get some cupcakes and while I was there I picked up one of their menus. While they have staple cupcakes they make every day they also have a daily (and monthly) rotating schedule of specialty flavors that they offer as well. One of those specialty flavors is a Lemon Berry cupcake – a lemon and raspberry cupcake with a raspberry frosting topped with a candied lemon – which gave me the idea for a basic lemon cupcake with a raspberry whipped cream frosting which then turned into a raspberry cream cheese frosting. I could have sworn I had a recipe for lemon cupcakes among my recipe stash, but, I couldn’t find one so I turned to Allrecipes to do so. I like using recipes from their website since you can scale them down to whatever serving size you need. After reading through a few recipes I settled on one submitted by Megan C. that was initially scaled for twenty-four cupcakes and I scaled down to twelve. The directions also have a recipe for a Blackberry Buttercream which sounds pretty good as well.

I started by assembling all of my ingredients for the cupcakes: sugar, butter, an egg, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, milk and a lemon.

IMG_0648

Using a Microplane I grated half of the lemon to get the zest and then squeezed it to get the juice.

IMG_0655

To make the batter I started off by creaming together the sugar and butter and then adding in the egg.

IMG_0656

Once the egg was mixed in well I added in the vanilla extract.

IMG_0657

Next up the flour.

IMG_0658

Then the milk, lemon zest and juice.

IMG_0660

Now it was time to spoon the batter into my prepared cupcake tin. While I did scale the recipe down for twelve cupcakes the batter definitely didn’t look like it was for twelve decent sized cupcakes so while I normally use my ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake tins I opted to use my cookie scoop instead so I could be sure to have enough batter for twelve. As you can see the liners were barely halfway filled.

IMG_0661 IMG_0665

After baking for 20 minutes in a 350 degrees F preheated oven they were done. As I suspected, the cupcakes by no means baked-up to fill the entire liner. Oh well, at least I know for next time that if I am going to make twelve I should scale the recipe to make eighteen cupcakes.

IMG_0670

While the cupcakes cooled I got to making the frosting.

As I mentioned before, I was initially planning on making a raspberry whipped cream frosting but decided to make a cream cheese frosting instead since I figured it would hold up better and be a little richer with the lemon cupcake. I actually didn’t follow a specific recipe for it since I’ve made cream cheese frosting quite a few times before and it’s fairly simple. I opted to cut back on the confectioners’ sugar so it wouldn’t be too sweet with the addition of the raspberry jam.

I started by creaming together one stick of unsalted butter and an 8oz. block of cream cheese with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

IMG_0672

I then added in 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar.

IMG_0673

And finally 1/4 cup of seedless raspberry jam. It came out to be a nice shade of pink actually.

IMG_0674 IMG_0675

Once the cupcakes were completely cooled I piped the frosting onto each of the cupcakes using a large star tip.

IMG_0677

Final verdict… They were quite yummy, especially the frosting. I plan on using it again for chocolate or vanilla cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 lemon, juice and zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

3. Cream sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

4. Beat in flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined; beat in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to make a smooth batter.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

6. Bake in the preheated oven until cupcake edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Begin by creaming the cream cheese and butter together and then add in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the confectioners’ sugar, once the sugar is incorporated add in the raspberry jam and continue mixing on medium speed.