These Gluten-Free sweet & tart beauties are out of this world! Graham cracker base + creamy & luscious lemony cheesecake + raspberry swirl. Perfect for a special dessert (hello Valentine's Day!) or any time!
Lemony Cheesecake Squares with Raspberry Swirl
Impressive-looking but super EASY to make & beyond YUMMY!
Update April 2020: This is a great treat/ dessert for Spring and Easter! It uses mostly pantry staples and tastes super indulgent and special without having to make an entire cake. Plus it stays well in the refrigerator for several days is you have extra.
If you don’t have fresh raspberries or raspberry preserves, you could substitute frozen ones or strawberries or even skip the swirl… the bars will still taste amazing!
The perfect balance of Sweet and Tart and SO YUMMY! We first made them last year for Valentine’s Day and they quickly became a fan favorite of ours and yours!
They also happen to be ridiculously easy to make.
They are made 10 real whole food ingredients: graham cracker, sugar, butter, cream cheese, eggs, milk, lemons (both juice and zest), vanilla, raspberry preserves and raspberries.
We made our graham cracker crumbs using Schar Honeygrams which we like because they are certified gluten-free, non-gmo and so tasty. And we just pulse them in our Mini Cuisanart (Amazon affiliate link)
And the graham cracker base is mostly graham cracker crumbs plus a touch of melted butter.
While this bakes for just 8 minutes, we whip up the filling which, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, is a luscious and creamy blend of cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, a touch of milk and vanilla.
Pro tip: if you’re doing a lot of baking/ cooking, you may find yourself needing “zest” for recipes… I shared on Instagram stories that another basic kitchen tool we love is our Microplane (Amazon affiliate link) which makes zesting a cinch!
The creamy filling gets poured onto the hot graham cracker base.
Then onto the swirl!
The swirl is a blend of raspberry preserves, fresh raspberries and a touch of lemon juice so it’s not too sweet. It’s mixed together and run through mesh strainer so it’s liquid-y and without seeds.
I was terrified of adding the swirl (I thought it would be difficult) but after doing this several times have decided it’s super easy and fun!
You literally drizzle the “liquid jam” in any swirl pattern you like, then using a tooth pick make swirls into the cheesecake filling. That’s it! And suddenly a basic cheesecake bar is transformed into a festive and fun treat!
Bake, cool, then lift the parchment straight out of the pan and cut into bars. It couldn’t be easier!
And they are creamy and luscious and just the right balance of sweet and tart. A total crowd pleaser!
These Lemony Cheesecake Squares are the perfect non-chocolate treat. Creamy Lemony Cheesecake + Graham Cracker Crust + Raspberry Swirl... The perfect balance of Sweet and Tart and SO YUMMY! Plus, they are super easy to whip up!
Author: Healthy Gluten-Free Family
Recipe type: Dessert, Valentine's Day, Cookies and Bars
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Serves: 16 bars
Graham Cracker Crust
a scant 1½ cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs ( I used one (1) 5.6oz box Schar Gluten-Free Honeygrams, finely ground into crumbs using a food processor)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 8oz bars cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, packed (about one lemon)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about one lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Raspberry preserves or jam
¼ cup fresh raspberries
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper
Graham Cracker Crust
Add ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well combined and "moist". Add mixture to lined baking pan and gently press into pan.
Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Place cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, blend until very smooth. Add eggs, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix until well combined and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour mixture onto warm and baked crust in pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top or put on oven mitts and gently rock the pan from side to side. (remember the pan will still be HOT!)
Combine preserves, raspberries and lemon juice in a small bowl and mash with a fork until well combined.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer so that the "raspberry jam" is smooth and liquid-y
Using a spoon, drizzle "jam" in swirls over cheesecake filling. Then using a toothpick, gently swirling the jam into the top of the cheesecake. The toothpick should just barely grab the cheesecake filling. There is no right or wrong here, have fun with it and add more jam and swirls as needed or desired.
Bake 30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken).
Cool completely in pan. Cover pan loosely with wax paper and chill until firm --about 2 hours.
Gently lift the parchment paper and squares from the pan. Gently pull parchment paper away from sides. Cut into 16 squares.
Hi! My name is Karen, and I’m the mom in our Healthy Gluten-Free Family. My posts and pictures here and on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are labors of love that allow me to share a very personal journey with you, one our family has taken together — learning, experimenting and sharing how to raise a healthy happy gluten-free family. Read more ...