Tried and BlueBerry Cheesecake
I am so tired. I know I said that yesterday but it isn’t any less true today. I really wish I could get to Bikram Yoga in the morning BEFORE work and not after. I feel much better after being in that hot room for 90 minutes of stretching, cardio and weight training. I’ve become an addict to exercise. I get such a rush of good feeling after but I need to be active a lot to keep it going. At work I just sit around too much answering emails, taking minutes…it’s mentally engaging but not keeping my body going enough. I have a need for speed! Or at least some form of motion. Part of what I love about cooking after a long day of work is the physicality of it. I get to stand, stretch, use my hands and my senses. It’s wondrous and relaxing for me.
When life is going along, dragging you kicking and screaming for any reprieve, any breath of air you can gasp, it’s always nice to have those tried and true things to fall back on. It can be a friend who will always stand by you, a movie that picks you up, a song that motivates you–a security blanket. It can vary based on what kind of mood you are in or what you need. For example I know that when:
I’m sick – I watch The Little Mermaid
I’m nostalgic – I re-read Anne of Green Gables
I’m longing – I listen to Vanessa Carlton
I’m sad – I watch Breakfast at Tiffanys
I’m in need – I watch Gone with the Wind
I’m really sad – I watch various episodes of Buffy or Angel
I’m wallowing in depths of despair – I watch “Hole in the World” from Angel or “The Body” from Buffy
I need a scifi fix – I pick up some battered Bradbury to read / I watch Back to the Future
I’m quixotic – I find a library or bookstore to wander around in
I’m epic – I watch Star Wars: A New Hope
I’m frustrated – I go for a run
Well when there are those times when I’m itching in my skin I fall back on a recipe. I’m always trying out new things in the kitchen but when I’m feeling drained and exhausted it can be nice to have that comfy, reliable recipe to use that always turns out genuinely tasty and pretty results. Cheesecake in general I can do in my sleep but I get bored and try new things (like a recent effort using mascarpone and farmer’s cheese instead of cream!) and they don’t always turn out perfectly. But oh man, when I just want to make something and have it come out perfectly? Cheesecake Bars are the best bet. It’s a simple recipe and in bar form I care less about perfection/cracking so I even get to skip the water bath. The ingredient list is small, simple and forgiving. This time I tossed in some blueberries to liven it up and provide some antioxidant power. That makes these suckers healthy…right?
Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- 10 sheets graham cracker cookies
- 8 Tbsp butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 20 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 whole eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup blueberries
Prepare a square cake pan (8” for thicker bars or 9” for slightly thinner bars) by lining with aluminum foil so that just a smidge hangs over the edges; pat down. Preheat the oven to 350F
Prepare the crust: run the graham crackers through a food processor to make crumbs. Toss with the butter, sugar and nutmeg in a bowl. Pat down into the base of your pan and bake for 10 minutes — I usually like to lick my fingers of the delicious crumb mixture at this time. Remove and cool to room temperature (wash those hands first though)
Prepare the filling: the bowl of a stand mixer beat your cream cheese for a good 2 minutes or so, scraping down the sides. After 2 minutes on medium add your eggs one at a time; beat on medium for one minute. Follow with the sugar. Scrape down the sides.
Switch your speed to low; add in the sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla extract. After thoroughly mixing remove the bowl from the stand. Gently fold in your blueberries and then VERY gently so as not to pop them, spread the mixture on top of your crust.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You’ll want a firm set. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, or overnight, before slicing.
The benefit to the tin foil is that you can lift these suckers out of the pan once cooled, peel of the foil and have perfect bars. If you slice and pull out of the pan you will inevtiably have one smooshed bar. Of course that can be a good excuse to eat the offending slice–Chef’s prerogative you know.