May 17, 2016

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars with Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam #Creative Cookie Exchange

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars with Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These Strawberry Cheesecake Bars are so creamy and decadent. Add the toasted pecan butter cookie crust, and you will have a hard time resisting slicing off "just a leetle bit more" every time you pass by the pan. I took these bars to work and they disappeared. 

Because I love you guys, and because the theme of this month's Creative Cookie Exchange is seasonal spring baking, I made a batch of fresh ice box strawberry jam for the strawberry swirl. If you decide to use store bought strawberry preserves, they will be just as tasty. I promise, I won't judge. 


Strawberry Cheesecake Bars with Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam from Karen's Kitchen Stories

One of the secret ingredients to the strawberry jam is a Granny Smith apple. Did you know that shredded Granny Smith apple contains natural pectin to help the jam gel? I had no idea!

Another secret ingredient in these bars is toasted pecans in the cookie crust. They just take these bars to another level.

My friend Felice from All That's Left are the Crumbs chose this month's theme, Seasonal Spring Baking. After the recipe, be sure to check out the links to more spring themed cookies and bars.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars with Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam from Karen's Kitchen Stories


Strawberry Cheesecake Bars with Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam Recipe

Ingredients

For the crust:

6 1/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces chopped pecans, toasted in a 350 degree oven for about 4 to 5 minutes (watch closely)

For the filling:

2 eight ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, whisked
3 ounces (1/4 cup) strawberry jam

For the fresh jam (optional, make in advance of making the cheesecake bars):

1 pound small red strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 of a large peeled Granny Smith apple, grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

For the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Spray a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with spray oil or baking spray. 
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and butter for a few seconds, until it comes together. 
  4. Move the dough to a counter and knead in the pecans with your hands. 
  5. Press the dough with you hands into the bottom of the baking pan. It will seem thin, but it will expand while baking. 
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just set. 
  7. Remove it from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

To assemble the bars:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. 
  2. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the eggs and vanilla and gently mix until combined. 
  3. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. 
  4. Fill a pastry bag or zip lock bag with the jam and cut a hole in a corner. 
  5. Draw three stripes of jam lengthwise on top of the cheesecake filling. 
  6. Draw a knife through the jam in one direction to move the jam into a winged pattern. Going in the opposite direction, pull the knife one inch from the last pull. Continue to pull a knife through the jam, one inch apart, to create a decorative pattern, changing directions with each pass. If you mess up, it really doesn't matter. The bars are still tasty. 
  7. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen the bars and prevent cracking. 
  8. Let cool on a wire rack for an hour, and then refrigerate until firm. 
  9. Slice and serve! 

To make the jam:

  1. In a 3 quart saucepan, mash the strawberries with a potato masher. Add the sugar, apple, and lemon juice.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the temperature and simmer for about 25 minutes. 
  3. Let cool completely, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate until set. 
  4. The jam can be refrigerated for up to 8 weeks. 
Bar recipe adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Jam recipe adapted from Cook's Country, June/July, 2016



Spring is here! And with it loads of great flavors for baking! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:





18 comments:

  1. I think I'd have to make 2 pans of these bars - one for me and one for everyone else. Oh what a delight with the fresh strawberry jam and pecans in the crust!

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    1. Thanks Renee. The pecans totally make these special =)

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  2. love the feather effect on the top. The jam especially looks delicious !

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  3. delicious cheese cake ! I will try it soon. :)

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  4. I could eat this whole pan myself. No restraint when it comes to desserts especially any as good as yours!

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  5. These look sooooo amazing! My grandmother used to make freezer jam; very glad to have your recipe.

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  6. Cheesecake & strawberries - yum! These look soooo good! Thanks for the hint about apples in the jam - I learn something new everyday!

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  7. I looove anything with strawberries in, everything about these Is calling out to me!

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  8. These look so yummy and my girls would love making these! Thanks Karen.

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  9. That jam....divine! Love the use of the apple for natural pectin!

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.