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I’ve always loved cheesecake. It’s been one of my favorite desserts since I was a little kid. I remember when my parents would get those fundraiser cheesecakes that had several different flavors and were already cut and separated. It only happened once a year, so I would make sure that I got a chance to have one of each of the flavors in the cheesecake.
As an adult, I would visit Pret a Manger during my lunch breaks during my internship in college. I would always get one of their lemon cheesecake bars. It was light as a cloud and more like a cheesecake mousse than anything. So dreamy. I decided to try and recreate that with these cherry cheesecake bars – which also happen to be no bake!
These cheesecake bars are done in a cinch and are so easy, kids love helping out to make them! Once you’ve, it is nearly impossible to stop. But you don’t have to because you can easily double the recipe and make them in a 9×13 pan. Perfect for those family get-togethers, right?
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup pitted chopped cherries
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Line a 9 x 9 square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and two tablespoons of sugar together until well combined and the mixture looks like wet sand.
- Press into the baking pan and tamp down until it is a firm, even layer. Place in the freezer.
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk while beating the cream cheese. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla, and half the salt until well combined.
- Beat the heavy cream until it reaches stiff peaks. Gently fold the cream into the cheesecake mixture.
- Take out the baking pan and pour in the mixture.
- Leave in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 – 5 hours, or overnight.
- While the cheesecake is setting, mix together the cherries, remaining sugar, almond, and remaining salt together and heat in a saucepan until the juices thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Take out the cheesecake bars and cut into squares. Pour over the cherries and serve.