Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars on Shortbread Crust

With a sweet, crisp shortbread crust, a tart lemon cheesecake and a juicy raspberry swirl, these strawberry lemon cheesecake bars from Sam at Sugar Spun Run are a refreshing treat!

We’re making our way into the thick of summer weather, so why not embrace it wholeheartedly by taking the best flavors of the season and combining them for the best possible dessert?

 

Today I’m sharing Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars, a dessert that combines the sweet flavors of plump, juicy, summertime strawberries with a refreshingly tart lemon cheesecake, all served over a snappy shortbread cheesecake crust.

These Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars are simple to make, and if you’ve only ever made cheesecake over a graham cracker crust before, you’re going to love this shortbread variation that I have for you today. Shortbread requires only three ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter, so it’s critical that we use the best quality ingredients possible, and Challenge is always the butter that I reach for without hesitation.

When making this base for our cheesecake bars, we need something that will be sturdy and crisp enough to hold up to the heavy cheesecake layer, but still buttery soft and nearly melt-in-your-mouth in texture, and Challenge brings it all together.

For the lemon cheesecake layer, make sure to pair Challenge cream cheese with fresh (not bottled!) lemon juice and lemon zest for a subtle, lemon tang. Top everything off with a few ribbons of strawberry preserves and you have a cool, creamy treat to beat the summer heat!

Recipe

Crust

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 cup (2 sticks) Challenge Unsalted Butter, cold

Cheesecake

  1. 3 packages (24 oz) Challenge Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. ¼ cup sour cream
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  7. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. ¼ cup spreadable strawberry preserves or strawberry pie filling

Instructions

Crust

  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9x13 baking pan with foil. Set aside.

  2. 2

    Combine flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.

  3. 3

    Cut butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and scatter over the top of the flour/sugar mixture.

  4. 4

    Pulse until dough begins to clump together into coarse crumbs. Pour mixture into prepared baking sheet and press evenly into the pan.

  5. 5

    Bake on 350F for 25 minutes, or until crust just begins to turn golden brown. Prepare cheesecake while crust is baking.

Cheesecake

  1. 1

    While shortbread crust is baking, prepare cheesecake filling.

  2. 2

    Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer) until creamy and well-combined.

  3. 3

    Add sour cream and stir well.

  4. 4

    Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until just combined and pausing to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.

  5. 5

    Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and stir until combined.

  6. 6

    Once shortbread crust has finished baking (you do not have to wait for it to cool), pour cheesecake filling evenly over the top of the crust.

  7. 7

    Spoon strawberry preserves into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5-10 seconds until smooth when stirred. Dollop preserves over the top of the cheesecake mixture and use a knife or toothpick to swirl into the surface.

  8. 8

    Return pan to 350F oven and bake for 30 minutes or until center is set.

  9. 9

    Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature before transferring to refrigerator to cool another 4-6 hours or overnight before cutting and serving.

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