When I asked my sister what she wanted me to make when I visited, she said cheesecake. I used to make cheesecake for her, but I wasn’t in the mood for a thick New York-style cheesecake like I used to make. Since we’d have a lot of goodies over the next week and didn’t want something as heavy as that, I decided to make Cheesecake Squares.
This recipe were much easier and less stressful to put together than cheesecake is. I mixed together melted margarine, graham cracker crumbs, and a little sugar, and patted them into a foiled 9×13 inch pan. I baked it for 10 minutes, and then made the cheesecake filling. I used the zest of half a lemon because I started zesting it right onto the cream cheese, so I couldn’t measure it. I mixed everything with an electric hand mixer, and it went pretty quickly. I poured the filling over the warm crust and baked it for another 20 minutes at 350F. The filling was set (it didn’t look wet anymore) at that point. I let them cool a little, and then stuck them in the fridge to cool until we were ready to cut them.
These were really good. It was a good ratio of cheesecake to graham cracker crust. The squares were lemony and sweet without being too rich. If you like cheesecake but it normally overwhelms you, this is the dessert for you. These were incredibly easy to make, and are much more foolproof than normal cheesecake since you don’t have to guess as much about when they were done. I’ve also never made a cheesecake that doesn’t develop a crack in the center, but I didn’t have to worry about that with these. I recommend that you give these a try.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 13 graham crackers)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 8-ounce packages), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
If desired, line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, making sure that it covers the sides of the pan. Grease pan or parchment paper/aluminum foil. Heat oven to 325F.
Mix together graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
Increase heat to 350F.
Beat cream cheese until smooth, using an electric mixer on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and add sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla, beating until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Spread over graham cracker crust. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, until batter is set.
Cool on wire rack, then chill in the refrigerator. Remove from pan using the parchment or aluminum (if using) before cutting. Otherwise, cut in the pan.