Thursday, January 26, 2012

Creme Brulee Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I almost got shunned at work for bringing in these gems Lee made over the weekend.  You see, we're supposed to be being good, I mean, it's January.  But Lee made them, and we wanted lots of people to enjoy them....  
Everyone loved them.   
Cheesecake, lemons, creme brulee... I mean, wow!  
Now, if creme brulee sounds like it would make this super hard, don't worry, this one is more time consuming than anything, but it's worth it!   
The crust is just like a cookie and is just the perfect amount of sugary.  The creamy, lemony inside cheesecake part has just enough tartness to cut through the sugar sweetness and  the caramely brulee'd top is the tasty icing on the top. 
Yum.  I wish we still had some left.

Here's what you need:
Make sure your butter and cream cheese is soft at room temp.  Combine butter, sugar, flour and vanilla in a mixer and mix on low until combined then on med for about 2 minutes until dough forms into small pellets.
Here's what the dough will look like when it's ready. It may look loose but don't worry it will form nicely when pressed into your baking dish.
Pour dough into a greased oven proof dish and press into an even layer crust and set aside.
In the same bowl you just used, place your softened cream cheese and whip until smooth.
Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and mix on medium, stopping once to scrap sides and mix again.
Next mix in your egg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix on medium for 2 minutes scrapping sides as needed.  Your mixture should look like this when done.
Pour your cream cheese mixture on top of your crust and spread evenly making sure there are no air bubbles, I usually tap my dish on the counter lightly to help remove air bubbles.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the cheesecake is set. Use a toothpick to test and if it comes out clean it's done.
Here's what mine looked like out of the oven.  Cool completely and then put in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before cutting.
The next day I sliced my bars into squares and placed on a cookie sheet with waxed paper (the wax paper is there just to catch the extra sugar DO NOT have the wax paper on the cookie sheets when you brulee the bars with a torch.)
Pour sugar on top of the bars and spread out with your finger so you have a light even coating.
Here's my weapon of choice, you can use a smaller kitchen size torch, but I use mine a lot, so in this case, bigger is better. If you don't have a torch or don't feel comfortable using a torch, you may place the bars on the very top of your oven with your broiler on high, just keep an eye on them so they don't get too burnt.
When using the torch, you have to constantly move the torch back and forth about 2 or 3 inches above the bars. You don't want to stay in one place too long as it will burn quickly.  You will see the sugar start to boil and turn a light brown, that's when you can stop and move on to the next one.
Here's the finished bars after I Brulee'd them. Place these into a refrigerator right away until ready to eat.

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons lemon zest
6 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons fine granulated sugar for brulee-ing, approximately

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Line an 8×8 glass dish with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. If you don't have parchment paper you can just use a greased pan but believe me it's worth it as they can be difficult to remove and cut.  
  3. Set aside. 
  4. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, flour and vanilla until dough forms. 
  5. Press evenly into the bottom of prepared dish. Set aside. 
  6. In another bowl, whip cream cheese. 
  7. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. 
  8. Scrape sides and mix again. 
  9. Pour in egg, lemon zest and juice. 
  10. Mix until mixture starts to thicken, 20-30 seconds. 
  11. Scrape sides and mix again briefly.
  12. Pour overtop cookie bottom and smooth the top. 
  13. Bake 20-25 minutes or until cheesecake is set completely. 
  14. Cool, then refrigerate. 
  15. Cut into 16 squares and separate.
  16. Sprinkle the tops of each square with 1 teaspoon of sugar and spread around with finger to evenly distribute sugar. 
  17. Torch the tops until the sugar melts and turns an amber color. {If you don’t have a torch, place under the broiler}. 
  18. Return squares to fridge until ready to serve.

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