Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars made with Greek yogurt that will satisfy your craving for fruity Spring treats and won’t bust your waistline.

20140414-002049.jpgFruit, Oreos and cheesecake!?! YES. This is what we’re making today. Creamy cheesecake made with tart pomegranate Greek yogurt and speckled with sweet strawberries. No need tap out all the seeds from a pomegranate for this cheesecake. Nope. That is waaaay too much work. I just used pomegranate yogurt that has the seeds mixed in!

20140414-002101.jpg Had too many treats for Easter? Impossible! But I know I’ve eaten a TON of Easter candy. I love Cadbury mini dark chocolate eggs! The dark chocolate ones are harder to find than the milk, but they are well worth the search! I’m also a Peeps fanatic (shocking, I know). All that candy is delicious, but these bars, MMmmm MMm. Besides being creamy, fruity and chocolately all in one bite, these bars come with a bonus – they are made with Greek yogurt – so you get a nice boost of protein. They are basically like a health food. (not really, but that’s what I tell myself when I scarf down my fourth bar of the day) AND you probably get a serving a fruit with 4 bars, so, go ahead, have that fourth. 🙂

20140414-002111.jpgThe other great thing about these bars is that they are EASY. Yes, I know, I usually say this about my all my recipes, but I only say it because it is true! Let’s make some Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars!

Start by adding a teaspoon of sugar to about 10 sliced fresh strawberries.  Let these macerate – this allows the strawberries to release some of their delicious juice – you can start this step hours ahead if you like.  While they are juicing up, make the crust.

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To make the crust, crush up the oreos in a food processor until they are fine crumbs (my food processor is very crappy, and thus, my crumbs are not fine) These less than fine crumbs still make a super tasty crust, but the bars can crumble a little easier when cutting. While the crust is baking you can whip up the cheesecake layer. The key to creamy cheesecake is to whip the heck out of your cream cheese (and to make sure your cream cheese is NOT cold).  You want all the sugar to get incorporated well into the cream cheese so you have NO LUMPS.  Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the strawberries, and beat until well combined.  Then gently stir in the strawberries with their delicious juices!

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Pour into a prepared pan and bake! Cool in the fridge (a perfect make-ahead dessert!) and get ready to enjoy creamy sweet, tart, oreo-licious cheesecake!

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Recipe: Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients:

Strawberry Center

  • 10 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Oreo Crust

  • 25 oreos
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Layer

  • 8oz of cream cheese, softened to room temperature (This is essential!)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 container of Pomegranate Greek yogurt (Chobani is 5.3oz )
  • 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt – I used 2% (all yogurt should equal ~ 1 cup total)
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang (for easy removal of the bars later).  Spray foil with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar to fresh sliced strawberries, stir and set aside
  3. Make the Oreo crust: Using a food processor, crush Oreos into very fine crumbs.  Dump crumbs into a medium sized bowl and stir in melted butter until all crumbs are moist.  Press crumbs into a single layer in prepared baking dish.  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Make the cheesecake layer:  In a large mixing bow, add room temperature cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until cream cheese is whipped – about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and then add half the sugar and beat on medium-high until well incorporated.   Scrape down the bowl again before you add the remaining sugar and beat on medium high until sugar is well incorporated.
  5. Add in the eggs and beat until well incorporated.  Then add the yogurt, flour and vanilla and beat until all are well incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with their juices
  7. Pour over prepared Oreo crust into an even layer.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until edges are set but the middle jiggles a little.  Let cheesecake cool to room temperature then place in refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.  After cooling, remove from pan and slice cheesecake.  Enjoy!

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Pile-o-cheesecake. Oreo-licious. Berry-licious. Pomegrant-e-lcious. Yum.

Easy S’mores Cookie Bars

Happy Valentine’s Day! Time to mix it up with a sweet treat!

20140213-073459.jpgI LOVE s’mores. They’re gooey and chocolatey.  The flavor combination of marshmallow, chocolate and graham is one my favorites.  I’ll eat anything s’mores – s’mores ice cream, s’mores cake, s’mores candy, s’mores cereal (remember Smorz?!)… you get the idea.  There is just something about toasty marshmallows, melty chocolate and graham cracker that just make the perfect dessert for me. MMMmmm! My mouth is watering just thinking about these cookie bars!

20140210-194227.jpgThese bars are made with Biscoff spread, aka cookie butter.  If you have never tried Biscoff, it is a creamy spread made from Belgian Biscoff cookies – which are shortbread cookies that have a hint of graham taste mixed with a little cinnamon.  I know this sounds weird, a creamy spread made from cookies, but it’s not.  It’s the most delicious thing that comes in a jar, which is why I had to make some treats with it.  1. To make a DELICIOUS dessert 2. To use it up so I wouldn’t keep eating it straight out the jar with a spoon.  ACK!  I usually have pretty good self control, but this is my kryptonite.  Seriously.

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And if you’re wondering, yes, I ate this whole spoonful after I took the photo.

These bars are so great not only because they’re SO moist, chewy, toasty marshmallow-y and chocolatey, but because they’re super simple to put together! No mixer is needed!  AND, unlike standard S’mores, no individual serving assembly required – No fighting over the fire to roast your marshmallows and no sticky fingers.  You’re welcome.

Definitely Delicious in a DASH!

20140210-194300.jpg1. Combine all the wet ingredients and then stir in the Biscoff spread (Cookie Butter) 2. Add in the dry ingredients and 3. Fold in until well combined 4. Add in the chocolate chips and marshmallows 5. Toss it all in a baking dish lined with parchment paper 6. Smoosh it down and throw a few more marshmallows on top.  Then pop it in the oven – and you are 25 minutes away from Heaven.

Make this for your sweety for Valentines Day. Or better yet, Treat Yo Self!

20140213-071432.jpgMy taller half loves cheesecake – so I made him some special cheesecake bars for Valentine’s Day (stay tuned for the recipe!), but I’ll be making THESE for myself. Who says you can’t have a whole 8×8 pan of cookie bars for yourself?

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Stretchy, toasty marshmallow, and melty chocolate with a chewy, moist graham center.  Yep. make these for yourself.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, YOU. Wonderful, Beautiful YOU.

Recipe: Easy S’mores Cookie Bars20140213-073459.jpg

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread (or Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of mini marshmallows + an extra handful for the top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients –  flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined and then add the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the Biscoff spread. Stir until mixture is well combined
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix – I usually fold with a rubber spatula to ensure that I don’t overmix.  The batter will be very thick.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows and “dump” the batter into a prepared baking dish.  Then press down the batter so that it is even throughout the baking dish and top with reserved marshmallows.  Gently press down the marshmallows.
  6. Bake for about 25-35 minutes. The bars will appear very soft and look under done but they will firm up as they cool. Allow the bars to cool completely- about 3 hours – before cutting into squares. *I know this is TORTUROUS but if you don’t wait, they will be too mushy and fall apart and you’ll need a spoon.  Totally feel free to eat them with a spoon 🙂

Cookie bars stay fresh for a week when stored in a sealed container at room temperature.

Enjoy!

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

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Summer is the season for so many wonderful things: BBQs, beach trips, outdoor concerts, sweating while doing just about anything, and eating tons and tons of ice cream.   This week, I was craving something sweet that was NOT ice cream and I really didn’t want to sweat while making it.  However, there is this whole dilemma that I can’t turn on my oven to bake because it’s just too damn hot on the 5th floor.

The solution – super fast No-Bake bars! 

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I chose butterscotch for these bars because my Taller Half LOVES butterscotch, and his birthday was last week.  Aw. I’m such a good girlfriend. (meanwhile I’m in the kitchen scarfing down half the batch before I even show him what I no-baked) Yes.  I made these bars with total and complete unselfish love.

Anyway,

Let’s review why these bars are amazing and you need to get in your kitchen and No-bake these bars right now:

  1. These bars are subtly sweet, chewy and creamy all in one
  2. They take less than 10 minutes to no-bake
  3.  You only need 7 ingredients (well, 8 if you include salt)
  4. These bars have peanut butter (Protein!) and oats (Fiber!)

You will thank me.  We finished the first batch in 2 days.  TWO days. oops

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My Taller Half says they taste like a cross between a chewy granola bar and butterscotch fudge.  You heard me.  You are making chewygranolabutterscotchfudge bars in less than 10 min!

Let’s no-bake some butterscotch oatmeal bars in a DASH!

First combine the oats, salt and butterscotch chips in a large bowl

Then melt peanut butter, oil, milk and honey in a small saucepan.  Heat slowly and stir.  This mixture can burn easily, so keep the heat low and keep stirring.  Plus, it’s too damn hot out!  No need to turn that burner all the way up!

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Keep stirring. This mixture is not well incorporated yet!

Heat mixture and stir until everything is combined.   Then remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.

Next, simply add the wet mixture to the oat and butterscotch mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until all the oats are coated and the butterscotch chips are nice and melted.  Mmmmm melty butterscotch.  This mixture is deeee-licious.

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Now scoop out everything into a 8×8 baking dish that is lined with parchment paper and squish down to even out the mixture and let it set for about 30 min.  I put the first batch in the fridge to set, because my kitchen is A LOT hotter than “room temp”.  If your kitchen is a normal temperature or you are blessed with air conditioning, then you can probably let them set outside the fridge.

20130729-213423.jpgAfter the bars have set, eat entire pan of oat bars cut into squares and enjoy.  Store bars in fridge, if you have any left after I ate them all.  : )

20130729-213445.jpgMMmmm  look at that chewy, oaty texture.  The creamy butterscotch and peanut butter smooths oat the old fashioned oats and you get this wonderful chewy, creamy bite! Yum!

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20130729-213529.jpgRecipe: No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Resting time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Makes 1 full 8×8 pan

Ingredients:

     Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

     Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I always bake or no-bake with Skippy)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (you can use less to make them less sweet) – **see below for tip for measuring
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%, but you can use whatever you have)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir
  3. In a small saucepan, combine all the wet ingredients, except vanilla.**
  4. On low heat, melt the peanut butter and stir to incorporate all the wet ingredients.  Do this slowly and keep an eye on it.  This mixture can burn easily.
  5. When peanut butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Pour hot wet ingredients directly into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir until all oats are coated with warm mixture and the butterscotch chips are melted. (I used a large rubber spatula to stir this all together.)
  7. Pour into prepared baking dish and press down with either a metal or rubber spatula to make an even layer
  8. Let it set in the fridge for about 30 min.
  9. Cut into bars and Enjoy!

Store leftovers in a air tight container in fridge for about a week.

** To easily measure honey, use the same cup as the vegetable oil and measure after oil.  Or, spray measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam) before pouring honey in.

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com