Recipe: Lemon-Blackberry Cheesecake Bars with Toasted Coconut Crust

No matter the question, cheesecake bars are always the answer. Need a crowd-pleasing, transportable dessert for a potluck? Cheesecake bars. An impressive-looking treat to set out for company? Cheesecake bars. A make-ahead sweet to enjoy throughout the week? Cheesecake bars.

This lemon-blackberry version is my latest favorite. The tangy, ultra-creamy filling sits atop a buttery, coconut-flecked shortbread crust, making every bite pure bliss. Try it first as directed, then switch it up and try a strawberry or raspberry variety.

Use Your Food Processor for Easier Cheesecake Bars

I like to think of these bars as the easier, more weeknight-friendly version of a traditional cheesecake. Sure, they need a few hours in the fridge to firm up, but the process of making them is easy — especially with the help of your food processor.

The base is a shortbread crust with a lemon-coconut twist. You’ll combine the flour, powdered, sugar, toasted coconut, lemon zest, and salt in the food processor, then scatter cold butter over top and pulse until a dough forms. Unlike working the butter in with your hands, the food processor keeps the ingredients cold and makes for a tender crust.

As the crust bakes, you’ll wipe out the food processor and use it again to purée the blackberries, then one last time to whip up the cream cheese filling. The fact that just one appliance pulls together this entire recipe truly delights me.

Oh, and as for the swirls: You’ll be shocked at how easy it is to create such an intricate-looking pattern. (In fact, I got so overly confident after making these bars that I assumed I would be just as good at latte art. Turns out that’s not really how it works.) All you’ll do is spread the blackberry cheesecake filling over the crust, dollop the plain filling over top, then swirl the dollops with a toothpick to create a marbled effect.

More Cheesecake Bar Recipes

  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
  • Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake Bars
  • Labneh Cheesecake Bars with Salted Honey Sauce
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Breakfast Bar

Cheesecake Bars


For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    sweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour (6.75 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    finely grated lemon zest, divided (from 1 lemon)

  • 12 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 4

    (8-ounce) bars cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 2 pints



  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut in an even layer in a 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Toast, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven.

  2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Add the toasted coconut and pulse until combined. Scatter the butter over top and pulse until the mixture forms moist clumps.

  3. Line the now-empty baking pan with parchment paper or foil so it hangs over all sides. Coat with cooking spray or butter. Transfer the dough to the pan and press into a thin, even layer that covers the bottom of the pan. Bake until just beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes; set aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 325°F.

  4. Make the filling: Wipe out the food processor. While the crust is baking, place the blackberries in the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with the back of a spoon (you should end up with 1 cup purée). Discard the seeds and set purée aside. Rinse the food processor.

  5. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of the food processor. Process until very smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and process until incorporated, about 1 minute more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, add the eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Add the lemon juice and remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest (leftover from crust), and process until just combined.

  6. Transfer 1 1/2 cups filling to a small bowl and set aside. Add the blackberry purée to the filling in the food processor and process until combined. Pour the blackberry filling over the cooled crust. Dollop the reserved plain filling on top (leaving space between each dollop) and swirl with a toothpick or skewer to create a marbled effect.

  7. Bake until the edges are puffed and set but the center still jiggles slightly, 30 to 40 minutes. Place the baking dish on a wire rack and cool completely, about 2 hours. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight. Use parchment paper to remove from pan and cut into 24 pieces.

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