As much as everyone has their favorite tried-and-true dessert, our friend Caeli-Rose from @happierinthekitchen has shared with us this unique recipe for Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars that will have you creating something outside the box that the whole family will love! Take it to your next pot-luck and WOW everyone with this unique and delicious combination.
As a foodie, one of my favorite things is being challenged – challenged to get out of your comfort zone and being pushed into an area of uncertainty. One minute you’re bouncing ideas off other like-minded friends and swapping recipes, the next you’re grating cucumbers into cheesecake dessert bars… wait, what?!
Yes, you heard me right – Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars!
If you haven’t tried using cucumber in a dessert, let me first remind you that this idea isn’t completely foreign. Think of carrot cake, where the sweet, earthy carrots perfectly balance out the nutty pecans and simultaneously help take the edge off the super sweet cream cheese frosting. Together, the combination of flavors makes for an award-winning dessert.
When I think of my ideal dessert, I want something light, but creamy. It can’t be anything overly sweet, and ideally, would have a depth of flavors. Cheesecake bars hit all of the marks for me, with a crisp, crunchy graham cracker crust, and a smooth, tart cheesecake filling. Adding in some grated cucumber only seemed like the appropriate next step to help mellow out the sweet and add another layer of flavor. Using Pure Flavor® Mini Cucumbers, these Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars are pleasantly balanced between sweet and tart (thanks, lime juice!), and have subtle fresh undertones from the cucumbers. They quite literally taste the way you feel after a day at the spa -Incredible.
Now that these are on your radar, there are a few steps that you need to be vigilant about for when making these Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars in order for them to turn out correctly.
First, cucumbers hold a lot of water, so after you grate them, it’s important to completely drain them. For any other savory recipe, this can be done with adding salt, letting them sit, and then draining the water that the salt draws out. However, for a sweet recipe, using the salt method wouldn’t make sense, so the best method is simply squeezing the moisture out. Once you grate the cucumber, put it in a cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, or several layers of paper towels, and squeeze the daylights out of it until most of the water is out. If you don’t get the water out, it’s adding additional moisture to the bars, which would mean the consistency and cook time are compromised, and it would essentially no longer be a cheesecake.
Two other things to be aware of when making these bars are the pan size and baking time. Cheesecake can be an easy thing to make, but if you don’t cook it long enough, it’s completely inedible (unlike cookies – hello gooey center!). So, consider the pan size and cook time partners in crime when creating this. Push your crust into your pan of choice and try to visualize the thickness of the cheesecake layer on top. The smaller the pan and thicker the layer, the more cook time you’ll need. Conversely, the larger the pan, and thinner the layer, the less cook time you’ll need. For this recipe, I suggest a 9×9 inch pan and about 25 minutes of cook time. Of course, you should be on high alert and checking the bars around 22 minutes. You’ll know they are done when the edges of the bars look “set” or “cooked”, and even start to get golden brown. The center of the cheesecake shouldn’t jiggle much at all. When in doubt, cook it for another minute or two!
The cooling process is also quite important so that the cheesecake mixture has time to set. When you take them out of the oven, allow the bars to cool completely on the countertop. This may take over an hour. (I know it will be hard to resist but trust me!) When the bars and pan are cool to the touch, stick the entire thing into the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight. After refrigeration, they’re ready to cut and serve. I prefer to keep the garnish simple, with some lime zest and whipped cream, but fresh fruit or even some additional cucumber slices would be absolutely divine!
So, trust me when I tell you that these are a recipe that you want to try! It’s like treating yourself to that “spa day” feeling just by making these delicious Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars. You’ll keep your friends and family coming back for seconds and wondering what that ever so refreshing, secret ingredient was. This dessert is the perfect opportunity to try something new and think outside the box when it comes to serving food to family and friends.
For Caeli-Rose’s full Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bar recipe, click here.
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