(bright music) – There are hundreds of recipes out there in the world for strawberry cheesecake bars, and rightly so. They’re super delicious to eat, and they make a perfect summertime snack with fresh strawberries. Like all great cheesecakes, these bars start with a great Graham cracker crust. So I have nine Graham crackers here, that I’m gonna coarsely crack into a food processor. And to that, I’m going to add a half cup of sugar.
And we’re gonna process these Graham crackers in sugar until we get to fine crumbs. And that takes about 30 seconds. Okay. Those Graham crackers and sugar are processed to find crumbs, as you can see here. And to that, we’re gonna add three quarters of cup of flour, and a quarter teaspoon of salt, and we’ll pulse that just to combine.
And then finally, to that we’re going to add eight tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter. Pulse that about 10 times, until all the Graham cracker crumbs are moistened, and the mixture looks like wet sand. This is what the mixture it looks like when it’s all said and done. We’re ready to transfer to our 13 by 9 inch baking pan.
So we’ll spread the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. You’ll notice that the pan is also aligned with aluminum foil. We call this an aluminum foil sling, really makes the bars easy to lift out of the pan, once we’re done cooking and cooling. So once the crumb mixture is evenly distributed, we’re going to take a measuring cup like this, and I’m just going to press down on the crumbs to make sure that the crust is nice and evenly packed, again just to ensure that when we cut these bars, the crust stays in one piece, and doesn’t crumble into tiny Graham cracker rubble.
So the crust is firmly packed down into the pan, and we’re ready to bake it off. So we’re gonna throw it into a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, and let it cook until the crust is firmed up a little bit and slightly darkened in color. Our Graham cracker crust is now out of the oven, and you can see it’s fully cooled, slightly darkened in color. And if I touch it, it’s nice and firm, and that’s exactly what we want. So now it’s cool down completely, I can start with my cheesecake filling.
So we have one and a half pounds of cream cheese which I’m going to add to the food processor, one cup of sugar, and we’re gonna process it, until it’s fully combined, and it’s nice and smooth, and that sugar is really dissolved.
So we’ll let this go for about three minutes, and we’ll scrape the bowl down halfway through. Okay. It’s been a good three minutes here. So you can see that our cream cheese mixture is nice and silky and smooth.
If you were to taste it right off the spatula, you’d notice that the sugar is also dissolved, exactly what we’re looking for. So we’re gonna turn the machine back on, and let it go for about 30 seconds, or so. We’re gonna add three eggs, waiting for each egg to get incorporated before adding the next. And then I’m gonna follow that with two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Okay.
Our cheesecake base is complete, and we’re ready to transfer our cheesecake mixture to our fully cooled crust. So we’re just going to pour it in there and we’ll just make sure that the cheesecake filling is evenly distributed over the crust. And we’re gonna put it into our 300 degree oven and we’re gonna let it bake for about 45 minutes.
And we’re looking forward to just be set along the edges, but still slightly jiggly in the center. (bright music) Now I’m gonna teach you two great things: The first is how to incorporate strawberries into our straw cheesecake bars.
And second, I’m gonna teach you about a sour cream topping for your cheesecake, which, if you take anything away from this, sour cream topping on any cheesecake you make from here on out. So first I have six ounces of strawberries here and we’re gonna begin by hulling those. I first begin by removing any of the light greenery at the top of the strawberry.
What you want to do is grab the blade of the pairing knife, leaving about one half inch or so, three quarters of an inch of the blade exposed past your thumb, and put the blade into the strawberry, at about a 45 degree angle, and then pivot, rotate the strawberry around the blade of the knife, to remove the hull. Okay, so we have the six ounces of strawberries.
We’re gonna transfer those to our food processor, and we’re gonna add a half cup of sugar. Now we’re gonna process these strawberries in our half cup of sugar, until it’s nicely pureed. We’ve finished up with our puree there. Now we’re going to add our strawberry puree to two cups of sour cream. When it comes to making any style of cheesecake for me, I always add this sour cream topping.
It really adds a nice tanginess, helps cut some of the sweetness of the cheesecake below. Our strawberry sour cream topping is all set.
And now it’s been about 45 minutes, and we can go to the oven, and check on our cheesecake bars. Okay. So what we’re looking for is for the edges to be set but the center to still jiggle slightly when shaken, and that’s perfect, exactly what we’re looking for.
So the cheesecake is not done cooking yet. We’re going to add our strawberry sour cream topping, and then we’re gonna put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Okay. And we’ll just gently spread that out into an even layer. Okay.
We’re gonna go back in the oven for 15 minutes, to set the strawberry sour cream layer, and to finish cooking the cheesecake all the way through. So it’s been about 15 minutes. You can see that our strawberry sour cream layer is nice and set. It’s still got a touch of a jiggle to it, but it is definitely set. We’re going to cool this for two hours to room temperature before then refrigerating it, for a good four hours, or even overnight.
I mean, you could even make this recipe a couple days in advance, but I can’t imagine how you’d be able to resist.
(bright music) Our strawberry cheesecake bars are finally for only chilled. But before we’re ready to cut into ’em, we’re gonna add one last strawberry garnish. So I’ve picked out five perfect looking strawberries from our bunch, and I’ve gone ahead and hulled them already. And what we’re gonna do is slice them really thin, and then macerate them.
Now macerating simply means that we’re gonna toss them with a teaspoon of sugar, and the sugar will help draw out some of their moisture, make ’em soft, pliable and glossy. And it’ll also add a little bit of sweetness to the strawberries. Just gently mix them around. And you could do this up to a couple of hours in advance, if you’d like.
Now that our sliced strawberries are macerating, we’ll set them to the side, and we can remove our strawberry cheesecake bars from the pan.
So we’re gonna utilize the foil sling here. I like to first pull up on the short sides to make sure everything’s coming up, the short sides of the foil here, and then do one swift pull up this way. Rather than cut these on the foil, I like to try to remove the foil. I like to just slide an offset spatula underneath the bar, just to help loosen it from the foil, and then slide the bars off, and pull the foil out from underneath. Just quickly, pull the foil out from underneath.
This, where it can get a little bit tricky. But one of the key steps to cutting these into even pieces, is to first square the bars up against you on the edge of the counter.
So to go into 24 equal pieces, we’re gonna first cut in half crosswise, and each one of those halves will be cut into thirds. You can pull out a ruler you would like, to do this, but I’m just gonna eyeball it. Now that our cheesecake bars are cut, we could go ahead and garnish ’em with our macerated strawberries.
So the great thing about this strawberry garnish, is it really drives home the look and flavor that these are actually strawberry cheesecake bars. There’s no mistaking it, once you put a piece of straw on top you can see how macerating the strawberries has made ’em nice and glossy.
Okay, strawberry bars are garnished, and we are ready to give ’em a taste. So I’m just gonna pull one out, one perfectly cut, even square. All right.
So we’re finally ready to dig in. Even though they’re bar cookies, technically, I still prefer to eat ’em with a fork. That’s excellent. You really get a nice cheesecake layer that’s super creamy. You get that strawberry sour cream puree that adds a nice tanginess and really cuts the richness, and the sweetness of that cheesecake layer.
And we dig into that little strawberry garnish, just to drive it all home. Plus that Graham cracker crust has just the right amount of bite to it. Nice and crumbly, but also firm enough to hold its shape. So this cheesecake bar is fantastic. I would actually prefer to eat this over regular cheesecake any day of the week.
So the keys to making great strawberry cheesecake bars, are to start off with a solid Graham cracker crust, cover that with a simple cheesecake base. Then top that with a puree of sour cream and fresh strawberries.
And there you have it, from Cook’s Country, and easy recipe for strawberry cheesecake bars. – Thanks for watching Cook’s Country, from America’s Test Kitchen. So what’d you think?
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