Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Raspberry Lemon Blueberry Bars #CreativeCookieExchange

Lemon bars with cream cheese are the cheater’s way to cheesecake in just a couple of easy steps. Add seasonal fruit to fancy them up.

This month’s Creative Cookie Exchange theme is red, white and blue and we were free to interpret that any way we wanted. I love it when the themes are wide open like that! Since it’s summer and juicy bright berries are all over the markets, I couldn’t resist using blueberries (Texas grown, naturally) and raspberries (Californian, I believe) for my blue and red. The white was a little more challenging. Can we all just pretend that the fresh lemony cream cheese is whiter than it appears, please? Thank you! In return I will promise you that these bars have the seal of approval from my family and you won’t regret making them for yours.

Ingredients (for 18 bars)
For the base:
1 1/2 cups or 175g graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup, tightly packed, or 50g light brown sugar
Zest of one large lemon
Pinch fine sea salt

For the top layer:
2 large egg yolks
5 oz or 150ml (190g) sweetened condensed milk
4 oz or 115g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup or 80ml fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 1/2 oz or 100g fresh raspberries
3 1/2 oz or 100g fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and line an 8x8 inch or 20x20cm or equivalent volume baking pan with parchment paper. As you will see, mine is actually rectangular.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl and pour in the melted butter. Stir until completely mixed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs out evenly, being careful to make sure they go into the corners as well.

Bake for 10 minutes in your preheated oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, condensed milk and softened cream cheese in another bowl until well mixed.

Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Whisk again until completely combined.

Gently fold in the raspberries and the blueberries. Gently now. You don't want to break the berries.

Pour the lemon raspberry blueberry topping over the graham cracker bottom and spread it around evenly with a spatula. Redistribute the berries if you need to. But, once again, gently.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until just set.

Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour before serving. Cut into bars and serve. Bars can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days, but they'll never last that long.


This recipe was adapted from Two Peas and Their Pods' lemon raspberry bars.

If you are looking for red, white and blue inspiration for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, I’ve got a great list of links for you!

Want to join the Creative Cookie Exchange? 
If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura via email (thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com) and she will get you added to our Facebook group where we coordinate events.

Need more creative cookie recipes? 
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 will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

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