Blackberry White Chocolate Lime Cheesecake Bars

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My brain is currently undergoing Christmas-scramble.  My thoughts are about gifts, decorations, and crafting.  But of course I also have saved some brain power to think about food.  Holidays bring some of the best food (and an excuse to eat it- only a Scrooge won’t eat that Christmas cookie or eat another piece of bread).

For this month’s Improv Challenge, we had to make something with white chocolate and lime- two of my absolute favorite dessert flavors.  I considered making something akin to a key lime pie but ended up taking some cheesecake bars and adding some deliciously smooth, melted white chocolate and citrus-y lime zest.  Then to top it all off, I swirled in some blackberry preserves- or if you want to be more festive, swirl in some cranberry sauce or raspberry preserves.

Don’t be a Scrooge- make and share these bars!

BLACKBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE LIME CHEESECAKE BARS
Adapted from Handle the Heat

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut in 1 inch cubes

For the Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
Zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
3/4 cup blackberry jam

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and grease.

In a food processor combine flour, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter cubes on top. Pulse until pea sized crumbs form. Press evenly into prepared baking pan.

In a large bowl combined granulated sugar and lime zest. Rub together. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. While continuing to beat, add eggs, vanilla extract, flour, and salt until combined. Beat in white chocolate until combined. Pour cheesecake batter on top of crust.

Warm blackberry jam on the stove or in the microwave until slightly thinner.  Dollop on top of cheesecake and swirl with a butter knife.

Place 9×9 pan inside a 9×13 pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water to create a water bath. Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. The center should jiggle slightly when shaken, but the edges should be stiffer looking. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator.

Thanks for Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting.  Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!

Tequila Glazed Chicken

As summer is slowly coming to an end, there are many things I won’t miss. I won’t miss that time of day when the air conditioning loses the battle with the sun and our upstairs is stuck at a crisp 82 degrees for the afternoon. I won’t miss going outside and sweating, reversing any of my attempts to look decent. I won’t miss the front page of the newspaper having 75% of the stories relating to record temperatures, drought, or false promises of rain fall.

I will miss grilling. Now, here in Texas you can really grill pretty much year round. We had an 80 degree Christmas a few years back- the winter months don’t stop us from grilling. However, I will be going back to my apartment where I only have an oven and stove but no grill.

Grilling is a healthy and quick way to prepare delicious meals. And my favorite part: a lot less clean up. This chicken was a nice change from the typical barbeque grilled chicken.

TEQUILA GLAZED CHICKEN
Adapted from Cooking Light

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup tequila
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water.
2 teaspoons lime zest (about 1 lime)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS

Prepare and preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Cut chicken breast into about 4 ounce pieces. Pound out to desired thinness. Combine cumin, chili powder, and kosher salt. Rub mixture onto chicken.

In a small saucepan, combine pineapple juice, tequila, and honey. Bring to a boil over medium to low heat. Continue to cook until mixture is reduced, about 10 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, mix well. Add cornstarch mixture slowly to juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add lime zest, lime juice, and red pepper flakes.

Spray grill with nonstick cooking spray. Cook chicken on grill, about 5-7 minutes for each side depending on thickness. While chicken cooks on grill, baste with juice mixture throughout. Set aside approximately 1/4-1/2 cup of mixture to be used as sauce if desired.

Lime Butter Crunch Cheese Bars

8-10 Lime Butter Crunch Cheese Bars

I typically think of myself as a level headed person who has everything together. Until one day my mom turned to me and said “I don’t know what’s happening to you.” Huh? She then proceeded to mentioned a fairly substantial list of times within a few days where I had forgotten an ingredient, or a step, or part of a meal. This includes but is not limited too: forgetting to add garlic, Tabasco, adding too much sugar and too much salt, and green onions.

Everyone forgets stuff every now and then. The worse part: I have been leaving ingredients out on the counter top from the very beginning of cooking in order to prevent forgetting. And I still forget it anyway (green onions on my pizza).

So what does my scatter brain have to do with these dessert bars? Well, they are supposed to be Lemon Butter Crunch Cheese Bars. See the lime in the title? When making these, I reached in the fridge to add the lemon juice, grabbed the green bottle, yellow lid from the top shelf. I measured the amount and added to the batter. Then, as I put the bottle back in the fridge, I see the word lime.

It didn’t matter anyway- I loved these, especially for a “light” dessert. I may have eaten three servings straight from the baking dish. The bars taste like cheesecake topping without using any cream cheese. The lime gives a subtle, refreshing citrus taste. If I were to make these again (which I will), I would add more brown sugar to the crust because I prefer a sweeter crust. This recipe would work with lime, lemon, or orange bases too.

LIME BUTTER CRUNCH CHEESE BARS
Adapted from Cooking Light
INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1/3 cup salted butter, softened
1/4 cup+ packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup all purpose flour
Cooking spray

For the Cheese Filling:
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lime zest
3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg white, room temperature

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the crust:
Place butter in a bowl. Sift in brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg.. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add flour to mixture, and beat at low speed until well incorporated. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray. Press crust into baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool.

For the cheese filling:
Place cottage cheese in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once. Add the sugar, flour, lime zest, lime juice, baking powder, egg, and egg white. Process until well blended. Pour filling over crust. Bake for 25 minutes, until set. The edges will be lightly brown and the middle will jiggle slightly when touched. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours to overnight. Lift aluminum foil out of pan and cut into bars.