These thick, creamy cheesecake bars are made with white chocolate, a homemade raspberry puree, a touch of fresh lemon and a deliciously sweet crunchy Oreo crust. Need, I say more?
I believe, and this is saying a lot, that these cheesecake bars are the best thing that have come out of my oven in a long, long time. Oh my goodness, seriously they are to die for! You can’t just have one! I almost ate the whole pan myself!
I took some bars to my mother and she said that they were the best thing that she had ever eaten too. They have Mom’s approval. So you know that they have to be good.
Not only are they delicious, they are beautiful too.I love the raspberry swirl. I think that they will make a perfect spring and summer dessert. They have just the right amount of tang from a fresh lemon to give it a marvelous refreshing taste.
Cheesecake bars are much easier to make than a whole cheesecake. I absolutely love that you can make them up a few days ahead, and they actually taste better made up ahead. All the flavors have time to soak in.
This recipe has three simple steps. It starts with a delicious Oreo crust. I used a whole bag. Well almost a whole bag. I must confess that I ate two. I simply couldn’t resist. It had been a long time since I had had an Oreo cookie and had forgotten just how good they are. So the good news is, the whole bag has 36 cookies. You can eat two or three and still have plenty left to make the crust. This crust is very easy to make. I break my cookies in half, put them in a blender or food processor, add a stick of melted butter and pulverize them into soft fine crumbs.
Press them into your prepared pan. I like to use the bottom of a small glass to press the crumbs down.
The crust is partially baked for 8 to 10 minutes, then you’ll set it aside to cool while you prepare your filling and raspberry swirl. Baking the crust keeps it from falling apart. You can use a graham cracker crust if you don’t like the oreos. Personally the chocolate oreos are my favorite.
Next, is the cheesecake filling. I am happy to share my filling recipe with you. It’s amazing. I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen perfecting a recipe that is perfect for cheesecake bars. You are going to need cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, pure vanilla extract, a little bit of flour and melted white chocolate. This will be my go to recipe for now on for other cheesecake bar recipes. That’s it, very basic ingredients! Once the filling is all mixed up, you pour it over the prepared crust.
And lastly, the raspberry swirl!! You’ll see in the recipe that I make this first so it has plenty of time to cool down and thicken up. You can make the swirl the day ahead and keep it covered in the fridge so you’ll be ahead of the game. Frist, you’ll cook the berries with sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice until slightly thicken and then you’ll press this mixture through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds and pup.
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success:
- Your blocks of cream cheese MUST be very soft before you make the batter. Room temperature is what you want. Leave them out on the counter for at least two hours before you mix up your batter. If the cream cheese is too cold, it will clump up and won’t mix up to be a smooth batter.
- Your eggs and egg yolks need to be at room temperature as well. This is very IMPORTANT!
- Lemon and lemon zest adds a nice refreshing citrus taste. Plus the lemon juice helps to give the cheesecake thickness and a beautiful texture. Lime juice and lime zest can be substituted for the lemon if you prefer lime. What ever citrus you use, make sure you use fresh.
- Line your pan with parchment paper, allowing each side to overlap about two inches. This is one of my best tips. Lining with parchment paper makes it super easy to lift out of the pan!! I promise you will thank me over and over again for this tip!
- For the swirl, you’ll drop the raspberry mixture on top of the unbaked cheesecake by the spoonful. I swirl the droppings all over. Then use a wooden skewer to gently swirl into a beautiful design, but be sure not to dig the skewer into the crust. Be creative in your swirling and be proud of your very own unique design!
- Be sure not to over bake your cheesecake bars. All ovens are a little different. It’s done when the edges are completely set and the center has just a slight wiggle.
- Cool the bars completely in the pan and chill for at least 2 hours before lifting them out and cutting them into squares.
HERE ARE SOME OPTIONAL IDEAS:
- For something different, you may use blackberries or strawberries in place of the raspberry pure. The rest of the ingredient amounts will stay the same, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. A graham cracker crust can be substituted for the oreo crust. Mix 2 cups of finely ground graham cracker crumbs with one stick of melted butter and ¼ cup granulated sugar.
- If you don’t have time to make a homemade puree for your swirl, use a store bought seedless jam. I recommend Smucker’s Seedless Raspberry Jam. Smucker’s also makes seedless jam in blackberry and strawberry too.
* Reserve a tablespoon or two of the raspberry mixture to drizzle over the cooked bars for extra color and flavor.
* Garnish with fresh raspberries, white chocolate curls and fresh mint leaves.
I hope you enjoy these White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars as much as we have. This is a delicious dessert that you will enjoy making all spring and summer long!
If you try this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @aletiadupree. Also if you make this recipe, take a picture and tag it #deliciouslysouthern on Instagram.
FOR THE RASPBERRY SWIRL
- 2 ½ cups fresh raspberries, or 2 cups frozen raspberries, plus extra for garnish
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 (14.3-ounce) package (or about 34 to 36 Oreo cookies)Oreo cookies, broken into
- ½ cup (1 stick butter) butter, melted
FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
- 3 (8-ounce) packages brick style cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks at room temperature
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white chocolate morsels, melted
- Fresh Raspberries
- White chocolate shavings
- Fresh mint leaves
FOR THE RASPBERRY SWIRL
1. I make the raspberry swirl first so it has time to cool and thicken. In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the raspberries are completely reduced to a jam-like puree. Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes and then force through a fine mesh strainer to catch all the seeds and pulp. Set puree aside to cool while you prepare crust and filling.
FOR THE CRUST
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9 x 13” baking pan with parchment paper leaving about 2 inches overhanging on each side for easy removal of bars. Place the oreo cookies and melted butter in the bowl of your food processor or blender; process until reduced to fine crumbs. Press the mixture firmly at the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake the oreo crust for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the cheesecake filling.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth; next, add the sour cream.
4. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is super smooth and creamy.
5. Add the eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and flour. Beat for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to over mix. Over beating the eggs can make cracks in the cheesecake.
6. Add melted white chocolate to cream cheese mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
7. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and spread it all the way to the sides.
8. Gently drizzle the raspberry mixture all over the top of the cheesecake batter with a spoon and then, using a wooden skewer, make little swirls in the mixture. Be sure not to go all the way to the bottom with the skewer so you don’t end up damaging the crust. NOTE: (I like to reserve about a tablespoon of the raspberry mixture to drizzle over the cooked cheesecake. It adds a nice finished shinny color to the bars. I use a tiny paint brush to do this. I just brush the bake raspberry swirls very gently with the reserved raspberry sauce. (This is totally optional!)
9. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the filling is set and a light golden brown around the edges.
10. Let the bars cool completely at room temperature then place them in the refrigerator until they are completely chill, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight before cutting into bars.
11. When ready to serve, gently lift the bars from the pan by pulling the parchment paper over laps and place them on a large cutting board. Cut the bars with a large cutting knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. It yields 16 squares or you can make them larger or smaller.
13. Garnish with fresh raspberries, fresh mint and white chocolate curls, if desired.
Do ahead/ freeze tip:
You can make this 2 or 3 days ahead. It also freezes well for up to 2 months. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Store leftover bars in an airtight container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.