Strawberry Cheesecake Crumb Bars

Happy summer everyone! I'm in high school, so I still follow a school-year schedule, and as of yesterday, I am officially on summer break!

It's lovely. The end of the year always gets so busy as people realize that you need to finish everything up (hello, teacher who assigned us a book to read with a week of school left, I'm talking to you.) And now that it's all over I just feel a wave of relief as all the stress I didn't know I had evaporates. It's really quite a lovely feeling. And now I have a ton of time to bake, so that is also a lovely feeling.

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And it should be a lovely feeling for you too, even if you still have to go to work (or, are still going to school), because I will have even more opportunity to share recipes with you! And even if you still have to work, it still feels like summer outside and you'll still want these strawberry cheesecake bars and plenty of other things I have coming up... *cough, cough* ice cream *cough*

Seasons definitely drive what you want to eat for dessert. In the fall you want warm fresh-out-of-the-oven pies, in winter you want hot chocolate and cookies, in spring you want lighter fruit-y desserts... and by summer you're over the whole "light" part of dessert and want to get right into ice creams and froyos and general creamy cold goodness. These bars will fulfill all your creamy-cold-goodness wishes, and they're way easier than ice cream.

This is a very easy recipe. The crumb is basically just flour sugar and butter, the cheesecake is just cream cheese cream and sugar, and then you just cut up some strawberries! It can't get any easier, so it's perfect for summer, when you have plenty of other things you want to be doing on top of eating delicious desserts. And if you have to entertain children who are now at home all day, get them to work on these. Mixing the crumb with you hands is definitely something kids would love. I know, because I am basically a kid.)

These can be eaten at room temperature, but I definitely recommend them served cold!

What's your favorite summer dessert?

-Audrey

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumb Bars

Yield: 9x 13 in pan

Ingredients

•    3 2/3 cup Flour
•    1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
•    1 teaspoon Sea Salt
•    2 teaspoons Baking Powder
•    1 cup Brown Sugar
•    1 cup Granulated Sugar
•    1 cup Cold Cubed Butter
•    For Cream Cheese Layer:
•    8 ounces cream cheese
•    ¼ cup sugar
•    1 egg
•    ¾ cup + 2 tblsp cream
•    For Strawberry Layer:
•    1 tablespoon sugar
•    2 tablespoon lemon juice
•    Strawberries, chopped

Cooking Directions

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Butter a 9"x13" pan. Line with parchment paper.
3.    To a medium bowl, add flour, oats, sea salt, baking powder, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix until well combined. Add butter and incorporate until crumbly.
4.    Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Set the other half aside.
5.    Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and cream until homogenous. Beat in egg. Spread across bottom layer. 
6.    Toss together ingredients for strawberry layer. Put on top of cream cheese layer.
7.    Top with the remaining crumb mixture.
8.    Bake for 30 minutes.
9.    Cool bars to room temperature and refrigerate if desired.

Recipe inspired by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch and Tine At Home