Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts but I rarely make it; I lack control when it comes to this creamy goodness. Oddly enough, the first time I tasted Cheesecake I did not like it. I was coming from a country where our desserts are not nearly as rich as what’s commonly found in the States, so I could only eat just a tiny spoonful at a time. Since I’m not one to give up, I tried it again and lo and behold, not only could I eat an entire slice but I loved it!! My taste buds were officially Americanized.
These days I try to stay away from temptation so it was a real treat when I made these Strawberry Swirled Cheesecake Bars. One of the things I love about cheesecake besides the taste is how easy it is to make. No special technique is needed and even a beginning baker can produce stunning results. I was able to whip it up quickly, which is key these days since there’s a 3 year old always needing my attention. I decided to add strawberry swirls since it was the week of Valentine’s and I wanted to be festive, plus my husband loves it. I made bars but you can easily make a traditional round cheesecake by using a 9 inch pan and adjusting the baking time to about 40 minutes.
STRAWBERRY SWIRLED CHEESECAKE BARS
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp sugar
3 - 8oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup strawberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tbsp of sugar. Place in a 13x9 pan and spread to form an even layer. Press firmly with a spatula; set aside.
Place room temperature cream cheese in a large bowl and using a electric mixer whip until light and fluffy. Next add sugar and mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and whip until well combined and the mixture is smooth. Pour over graham cracker crust.
Place the strawberry preserves in a small bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds, just enough to make it a bit runny. Next drop spoon full of strawberry preserve onto cheesecake batter. Take a knife, and without touching the bottom, pull it though the strawberry preserves to make swirls throughout the crust. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 4 hours before cutting into bars.