Is it a cheesecake? Is it a custard? Is it a cookie? This delicious lemon bar recipe, courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine, is all three. Seems labor intensive, but it really isn’t. In fact, it’s best made the day before you serve so it sets well in the refrigerator.

I bet you could make this same recipe with other fruits like limes, oranges strawberries, or raspberries. Any fruit that you can extract enough juice from. The zest of the fruit adds a lot more flavor, so adjust if you use fruits without peels. You could chop up fresh berries and add instead of zest.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 25 gingersnaps (about 6 ½ ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

Filling:

  • 8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup light sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Directions:

Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cookies and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a food processor and process until finely ground.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the ginger. Process until moist crumbs form.
  4. Press mixture into bottom of a 9 inch square metal baking pan that has been coated with baking spray.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes or until set. Cool on a rack.

Filling:

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  2. Beat cream cheeses in a medium bowl at medium speed until smooth.
  3. Add ½ cup sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt and beat at low speed until well combined.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add sour cream, ½ teaspoon rind and 1 tablespoon juice. Beat until combined.
  6. Pour mixture on top of the crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until almost set in the center.
  7. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack.

Topping:

  1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Place pan over medium low heat and cook for 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles and thickens. Stir constantly with a whisk.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Add 1 teaspoon butter and stir until the butter melts.
  4. Spread topping over warm cheesecake.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The recipe says it serves 16 and each serving is 170 calories. I was not counting calories when I made it, so I made it with 12 ounces regular cream cheese (but I did use light sour cream!).