Raspberry cheesecake bars
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Cheesecake, in my opinion, is quite the daunting treat. When I get cheesecake or order it at a restaurant, I always worry that it will be dry, not sweet enough, too sweet, not enough crust...and the list goes on. I think this is why I avoided making it at home, but I was excited to tackle a cheesecake bar first!
Since the 4th of July holiday is coming up, I knew the perfect addition would be some sort of fruit to bring in a bit of color. Raspberry preserves or jam is one of my favorite things to use when incorporating a fruit flavor into a baked good, so I went with it and was so thrilled with the result. Not only did the bars themselves come out perfectly creamy, but the raspberry swirl added such a nice sweet and tart bite without being overpowering.
This recipe is fairly no fuss, and it's such a great treat to share with loved ones. The raspberry swirl gives it a beautiful design, and they can be stored in the freezer ready to serve any time. There is also a lot of flexibility in the size making it quite versatile. You can slice into 16 squares or 9 squares. Another option after slicing into 9 squares is to then cut diagonally to get 18 triangle treats. The texture of the cheesecake and graham cracker crust are both sturdy enough to hold up to almost any shape and makes it the perfect hand held treat.
For this recipe I used my favorite brand of raspberry preserves, Bonne Maman, but you can definitely get creative here. You could swap out for another brand, or even a different type of fruit preserve or jam. I will definitely be sharing more recipes with different variations on this bar and I can't wait to explore myself!
Ingredients: Graham cracker crust
9 crushed graham cracker sheets (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5-6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves
Total time: 7 and a half hours including chill and freeze time
Prep time: About 20 minutes
Bake time: About 45 minutes total
If you haven't already, remove your cream cheese from the fridge for later.
First, make your graham cracker crust. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place all 9 graham cracker sheets into a plastic bag and use the back of a pan or any flat tool to crush them to a powder. If you have a food processor, you can also use that instead, but I find it easy to crush the graham cracker small enough using the plastic bag method. Into a medium sized bowl, add your crushed graham cracker, salt, and brown sugar and toss to combine. Melt your 6 tablespoons of butter and add most of it into your dry mixture, reserving the last tablespoon. Use a spoon to combine and bind the butter with your dry ingredients. If you find it is not binding, add the rest of your butter after you've begun mixing. Line a 9x9in square pan (or you can use an 8x8 pan if that's what you have) with parchment paper. Pour your graham cracker crust mixture into your lined pan and use the back of a spoon or a flat tool to press the graham cracker down evenly.
Make your cheesecake filling. Into your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add all of your cream cheese. Turn your mixer on at a medium to high speed for 1-2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of your bowl and the paddle attachment. Add in your granulated sugar, and then turn your mixer back on to a high speed for another 2 minutes.
Next, add in your milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Turn your mixer back on at a low to medium speed for another minute. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, paddle attachment, and the bottom of your bowl and then turn your mixer back on at a low to medium speed for another minute until fully combined and smooth.
Pour your cheesecake mixture over your partially baked graham cracker crust and spread smooth with a spatula or flat tool. Measure out your raspberry preserves, and dollop small portions of it across the top of your cheesecake mixture. Then take a knife or toothpick and swirl your way through the raspberry preserves to create your desired design. Your oven should still be heated to 350 degrees. Place your cheesecake into the oven for 35-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when you shake your pan and the cheesecake still jiggles but is set around the edges. Once it's fully baked, allow your cheesecake bars to cool for about an hour or so at room temperature. Then, place your cheesecake into the freezer for at least 5-6 hours (or overnight) before slicing!
When you're ready to slice, you can remove your frozen cheesecake from the pan or slice in the pan. My preference is to slice into 9 squares, and then slice diagonally to create 18 triangles. You can also leave them as larger squares, or cut the full pan into 16 squares. Once it is sliced, you can store the pieces in the fridge for 5-6 days, or store in the freezer to eat any time! I think they taste great just out of the freezer, but I usually give them about 10 minutes at room temperature before enjoying.
Carb and serving info: Carbs per serving (1 of 9): 44.1
Carbs per serving (1 of 16): 24.8
Carbs per serving (1 of 18): 22 Carbs for full recipe: 396.8 Carbs from raspberry preserves in full recipe (in case you swap in another kind): 81.6
Carbs from graham crackers: 108
Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.