Lemon Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
I’ve made this recipe a few times this summer and kids and adults alike gobble them up. Perfect for picnics or outdoor get-togethers, these finger-food dessert bars are pretty with their lemon swirl and tasty with the creamy cream cheese filling and lightly lemon-flavored swirl. The recipe makes a lot, but they keep well in the refrigerator and have a tendency of disappearing magically : )
Lemon Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Servings: 36 squares
Active time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes + 7 minutes for the lemon swirl
*Refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting
1 cup (220 g) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (330 g) flour
1 cup (140 g) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch (Maizena in France)
½ cup (120 ml) cold water
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup (160 g) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
16 oz (450 g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (215 g) sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup (75 g) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease (or butter) a 9-by-13-inch nonstick baking pan. Alternatively, you can use a 9-inch-square pan which will make about 16 thick bars.
Using a spatula, mix the melted butter with the flour and confectioners’ sugar until a dough forms. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the greased pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes – it should be golden and fragrant. Set aside and let cool.
Make the lemon swirl. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Stir gently and set aside. In a small saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice and ¾ cup of sugar. Turn the heat on to medium. Whisk in the cornstarch and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium-high and boil for about 2 minutes, whisking, until the lemon mixture is thickened and glossy. Take off the heat, stir in the lemon zest and set aside to let cool.
Make the filling. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese with the cup of sugar. Beat in the flour until blended. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream and the vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour the batter over the cooled crust.
Stir the lemon mixture and slowly pour into the batter in a swirling motion. You can use a spatula to swirl it more if you would like, but pouring slowly and carefully works fine.
Lower the temperature of the oven to 325° F (160° C) and bake the cheesecake bars in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes. The edges should be golden and the filling should be set (not jiggly, knife inserted in the middle comes out clean).
Let cool completely (about 1 hour) before covering and refrigerating until thoroughly chilled (about 2 hours). Cut into little squares (wipe the knife clean before each cut) and serve. The cheesecake bars can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
And bon appétit!