Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Squares

I just used strawberry jam and the color didn't turn out very red. I think next time I will take the time to make the strawberry sauce. They tasted just fine even though they weren't red.

Strawberry Cheesecake Squares

1 package Pecan Sandies Cookies, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
11 oz. cream cheese (1 8-oz. package + 3 oz. of another package, not low-fat), softened
2 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. Sour Cream
1 1/4 c. Strawberry Sauce or strawberry jam, divided (recipe below; you can also use jarred strawberry topping or canned strawberry pie filling)

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a food processor, process 3/4 of the Pecan Sandies (reserve 6). Mix with melted butter and lightly press onto the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond extract, and sour cream. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes. Spread half of the cheesecake batter onto the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Pour 3/4 c. of the strawberry sauce over the batter, spreading gently to cover the surface (it doesn't have to be perfect). Spread remaining cheesecake batter over the strawberry layer and then spoon remaining 1/2 c. of strawberry sauce over the batter. Being careful not to cut into the surface of the cookie crust, swirl the strawberry mixture with a butter knife.

Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes or until center is jiggly but not liquid (I ended up cooking for about 50 minutes before it wasn't jiggly). While baking, process remaining 6 cookies. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the cookies on top of the cheesecake. Chill for at least 8 hours and cut into squares. If desired, drizzle remaining strawberry sauce over the individual squares.

Strawberry Sauce
1 pint strawberries
1/3 c. white sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (my favorite) or vanilla extract
Wash strawberries and remove stems.

Combine berries, sugar, and extract in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for five minutes, stirring/breaking strawberries up with a wooden spoon constantly.
After five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (if you have a glass blender jar) and a lot (if you have a plastic blender jar). When cool enough, transfer mixture to blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

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