So today’s recipe is the last item in the Breakstone’s Triple-Churned Challenge! Just in case you’re joining us now, we’re competing against two other gorgeous, wonderful food bloggers for the best menu featuring Breakstone’s Triple-Churned sour cream. So far, we’ve showcased our fabulous brunch menu featuring Fresh Fruit Bruschetta and Baked Breakfast Taquitos with Lime-Chipotle Dip. Which means we need to top it off with a dessert, right? Um, of course! We just need you to vote (and please keep voting every day!) for Our Best Bites’ menu on the Breakstone’s website. Not only will you help us out, but each time you vote, you’ll be entered to win a $300 gift card. Can’t beat that!
I love the idea of cheesecake bars because they’re so non-committal—you can just take a small piece if you’re watching calories or if you’re super stuffed from your bruschetta and taquitos. Or you can have more than one; that’s cool, too. Plus, bars are great finger food and I say if it’s one less dish to wash, then your party just got a little more fun.
I made the crust easy by using a package of pecan shortbread cookies like Keebler Pecan Sandies. Take 6 cookies (or ¼ of the package) out and set them aside. Process the rest in a food processor until they’re all crumbs. No food processor? No problem! Just place them in a Ziploc bag, seal it up, and crush the cookies with a rolling pin.
Mix the cookie crumbs with 1 ½ Tbsp. of melted butter and lightly press into a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond
extract, and Breakstone’s sour cream. You may be concerned that there is more sour cream than cream cheese in this recipe. Don’t be. Lots of sour cream has never led anywhere except gastronomical happiness (and larger dress sizes, but not if it leads to an extra trip to the gym first). Plus, this contest is sponsored by Breakstone’s sour cream, so we’re giving them a little (okay, a lot) of love here. Oh, and speaking of trips to the gym, don’t use light anything here. Trust me, it won’t end well. Just go spend a little extra time imagining Jillian Michaels is yelling in your face and you and the upcoming swimsuit season will be cool.
Anyway, beat the sour cream mixture on high for 4-5 minutes or until it’s completely smooth and fluffy.
Pour ½ of the batter onto the reserved crust. Spread ¾ c. strawberry sauce or strawberry jam (you can also use canned strawberry pie filling, but it won’t be quite as awesome) over the cheesecake batter in the pan. Spread the remaining cheesecake batter over the strawberry layer and then spread another ½ c. of sauce over the top layer of cheesecake batter. Being careful not to cut into the bottom crust, gently swirl the cheesecake batter and strawberry topping. Don’t worry about making it perfect—remember those 6 reserved cookies? Those are going to hide any ugliness.
Pop that baby into the preheated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the center is jiggly but not liquid and the crust is very lightly golden brown around the edges. While the squares are baking, crush the remaining cookies. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the crushed cookies over the cheesecake squares. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature and then chill for at least 8 hours before cutting into squares. If desired, top squares with additional strawberry sauce.
Strawberry Cheesecake Squares
Recipe by Our Best Bites
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
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. Breakstone’s 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 9×13 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 9×13 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. 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.