Aug 12, 2010

Butter Crunch Lemon-Cheese Bars

As much as I love summer, and all the potlucks, picnics and family reunions that come standard, there’s one thing I believe should be banished forever, as it’s the true bane of bikini season...

The dessert buffet.

Maybe plate upon plate of glorious, gluttonous goodies are ok in the presence of super skinny self-control toting types, but put a homemade confection-clad table in front of me, and my fat five-year-old inner child will surely go buck wild, piling her flimsy styrofoam plate with a superfluity of sweetness.

Because why settle for just one cookie when I can have three cookies and a brownie? And…a lemon bar? Oh, and a cupcake. And a teeny, tiny slice of apple...pumpkin...and lemon meringue pie. And c'mon, it just isn't summer without Aunt Marcy's banana trifle and grandma's pumpkin roll! Heck, I can even squeeze room for that green Jell-o fluff that I don’t even like. A few more wedges of this and smidgens of that and you can bet I'll turn from the table with a teetering five-pound plate of sugar and not an ounce of self restraint.

So with all my friends and family to bear witness, I take my seat ala the walk of shame, fending off stares and smirks with an “Oh this? Of course it’s not just for me,” then scarf down that mountain of sugary shame until my belly is boated and the smears and crumbs on my plate resemble a homicidal crime scene at a bakery.

Am I the only one who gives in to this torturous temptation? Is there any hope to change my summer dessert destiny?

Why yes, actually. Enter, the two-in-one dessert dream bar. Part cool, creamy cheesecake. Part tangy, gooey lemon bar. All atop a crumbly, buttery pastry crust, this is TWO desserts, cleverly and deliciously disguised as ONE. So you feel like you're pigging out, when in reality, you're staying quite human. And at just 140 calories, it comes with a much appreciated side of self-control, too.

And you can make this fabulous dessert faster than you can load up a plate with ten others! Just a quick crust blended with a hand mixer, followed by an even quicker filling whipped up in a food processor. Bake, let it chill and you're ready to gorge...err...daintily nibble.

Top with blueberries, sliced strawberries or a little fresh lemon zest and I bet these would make beautiful little desserts at an afternoon tea or baby shower. Although, the pregnant guest of honor will most assuredly prefer the aforementioned dessert buffet.

Fruit topped or naked, you won't be disappointed. These are delicious. Perfectly lemony, wonderfully creamy and cheesecakey. They really do taste like two amazing summertime desserts melded into one. And the crust is ahh-mazing. I will be definitely be making these again and again, especially for all those family gatherings this summer. That way I can secretly splurge while still looking all proper and ladylike. (Well, maybe just one brownie...and a cupcake...and...)

Butter Crunch Lemon Cheese Bars
Adapted from…Greg Patent, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2001
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 square)

Cookbook Note: You can substitute fresh orange juice and grated orange rind for lemon, if you wish. These are best served chilled.

1/3  cup  butter, softened
1/4  cup  packed dark brown sugar
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground mace or nutmeg
1  cup  all-purpose flour
Cooking spray

1  cup  1% low-fat cottage cheese
1  cup  granulated sugar
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
3 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1/4  teaspoon  baking powder
1  large egg
1  large egg white

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to butter mixture, and beat at low speed until well-blended. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough excess at the edges to create handles to later lift out. Spray with cooking spray, and press crust firmly onto foil. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

To prepare filling, place cottage cheese in a food processor; process 2 minutes or until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and remaining ingredients, and process until well-blended. Pour filling over crust. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until set (the edges will get lightly browned), and cool. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

While holding the edges of the foil, carefully remove dessert from pan and place on cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories:140.5, Fat: 4.5g (sat 52.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g), Protein:3.35g, Carbohydrate:22.25g, Fiber:0.25g, Cholesterol:24.5mg, Iron:.55mg, Sodium:149mg, Calcium:20mg.


Katie said...

Sounds delicious! I love all things lemon...and cheesecake!

Amy said...

These scream "summer!" I want to eat them, right now.

Betty Ray said...

I can relate to EVERYTHING you said here! LOL. These look delicious and much less naughty. I will try them out soon! Thanks for posting.

julie said...

These look delicious! The only problem is that, being so low calorie, that would give me instant license to eat half the pan! Yum!

LBDDiaries said...

I was laughing so hard - homicidal crime scene at a bakery - this was such a hysterical post!!! I'm so glad to see it because Alpha Son is getting married & we're having the reception catered but there was nothing for him. He LOVES lemon and LOVES cheesecake so this was sent just in time! Can't wait to do a practice run (heh heh) before the day!

simplysandi said...

I love these. I have never made them, but I am now!

sarahe said...

you are not alone--i always do this at buffets--especially pot lucks!! and these bars look amazing!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I absolutely love cheesecake - this one sounds yummy :)

teresa said...

they're so creamy, these look delicious! i'm with you with the summer food. i actually gain weight over the summer because of all that wonderful vacation food.

Jennifer said...

Stopping by from SITS....These look so refreshing! Thanks for sharing. I just recently blogged about my new food craft endeavor. Definitely way on the other side of the light cooking spectrum! :)

Anonymous said...

These are one of my all time fav desserts but I cant make them! I have tried three times and my filling gets hard, you can peel it off! I have no idea what I do wrong but this happens every time. I am a baking dud! LOL

Happy SITS Sunday
Wanna Check Me Out?

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my goodness. Every time I come here I see something AMAZING and these take the cake. Holy cow they look so great!

Jenn Erickson said...

Saw your "recent post" in the SITS comments today and just had to come by....YUMMY! I absolutely love lemony desserts and am printing yours to try. Thank you! Consider me your newest "Follower". Best, Jenn/Rook No. 17

Jenn Erickson said...

Silly me, I knew your blog looked familiar! You had that wonderful recipe for the Lemon Cornmeal cookies that I made and LOVED! Hmmm... thought I had followed last time I was here, but this time it's for sure. Looking forward to coming back and discovering more of your fabulous recipes! Jenn

Melissa B. said...

First off, we tried your jalapeno poppers and they are THE BEST! Secondly, we're all big lemon fans around here, so thanks!

Elizabeth and Jared said...

These look like they would just melt in your mouth. The photos just made me hungrier and hungrier. I love that you put the nutritional info at the bottom. And I agree, Bikinis should be banished. This is the first year ive decided that i shall NEVER wear a two piece again!

Ingrid said...

Hi, my name is Ingrid and I have no dessert self control. It doesn't matter if it's the summertime dessert table or the holiday cookie exchange. :)

Love lemon desserts so I'll be giving this a try! :) I bet your berry curd would be delish drizzled over this!

Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) said...

I absolutely love lemon bars, I'll have to make these as a treat for my husband sometime soon!!

I just found your blog and love the concept - I'm excited to keep reading!

LisaDay said...

I am a sucker for dessert bars, too. This looks fantastic.


Gabrielle @ i.gourmet said...

This...very easily could be my new favorite dessert. :)

Libby said...

Wow these look YUMMY!!!
Question: How do you think cream cheese would fare when substituted for the cottage? I've got a picky sister who would somehow know I used "the stuff with lumps."
Stopping by from SITS!

WhisperingWriter said...

I love that. I'm a big fan of lemon stuff.

Emma said...

You have to stop making such delicious stuff!!! xx

Charlene said...

Oh my gosh - I think I need a moment. This looks SOOO good. I totally need to make this now. Thanks for sharing & visiting from SITS!

Eva Gallant said...

Those look absolutely wonderful! Your photos make them look even more so! Just stopped by from SITS to say hi. Hope you will find time to do the same.

Ronnica said...

Looks good...perhaps a little *too* good!

Anonymous said...

Those look so. darn. good. And easy enough that I may even be able to make them!

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

YUM. I recently attended a party that had ONLY a dessert bar. Those evil temptresses.

Me, Myself and Pie said...

Libby-I think cream cheese could be substituted, but I'd do a test run first just in case if I were you. But, just so you know, my hubby and I both hate cottage cheese, but it's blended to a liquid in this recipe and it tastes just like cheesecake!

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