Peach Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Luscious, creamy vanilla cheesecake bars with a swirl of fresh peach puree and a sweet and salty pecan-infused cookie crust are just what you need to top off the summer! Baking cheesecake in bar form transforms a fussy, formal dessert into a casual, everyday delight—this summery version pairs a delicate vanilla bean cheesecake with a […]

Luscious, creamy vanilla cheesecake bars with a swirl of fresh peach puree and a sweet and salty pecan-infused cookie crust are just what you need to top off the summer!

Baking cheesecake in bar form transforms a fussy, formal dessert into a casual, everyday delight—this summery version pairs a delicate vanilla bean cheesecake with a swirl of vibrant peach.

Peach cheescake bars cut into squares, arranged on a piece of crinkled parchment with a bowl of peach puree and a few peach slices scattered around.

Peach season is sadly coming to an end. I still had a few peaches left from that box of seconds I bought that needed to be used. And after toying with the idea of some sort of pie or cobbler bar, I ultimately decided to make a cheesecake since I feel like cheescakes are lacking representation on this here blog (I admit to being slightly biased towards other desserts… cream cheese just isn’t my favorite thing in the world). That said, I can totally get behind a really good cheesecake, and these peachy squares are just that.

The delicate vanilla bean cheesecake and the sweet and salty pecan and vanilla wafer crust combined with the bright and fruity peach swirl on top makes for a truly wonderful (and gorgeous) combination.

Silver baking pan lined with parchment, baked with cheesecake filling and a bright orange swirl of peach

This recipe is loosely based on my blueberry crème fraîche cheesecake, minus the blueberries and the top glaze (because why cover up that beautiful swirl?) It’s my favorite cheesecake base, light and silky smooth with a bit of tang from the crème fraîche that cuts the sweetness perfectly.

Obviously I had to make some adjustments in addition to the peach swirl (namely halving the recipe, removing the blueberry, and adding vanilla bean paste for a subtle vanilla flavor and precious vanilla bean specks throughout). I was optimistic that it would translate into bars, and was pleasantly surprised that these turned out so well on the first try. That’s the sign of a solid recipe, when it can be adapted into different shapes and sizes without any hassle whatsoever.

I was especially pleased with how defined the peach swirl turned out; I was worried about it sinking or bubbling but it stayed pretty much pristine throughout the entire baking process!

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Meyer Lemon Bars

Meyer lemon bars are the perfect springtime treat: with a tart and sweet Meyer lemon custard baked on top of a layer of buttery shortbread. These sunny Meyer lemon bars are as delicious as they are easy, with a layer of tender shortbread topped with an easy, shortcut lemon curd: no stovetop required! Dust with […]

Meyer lemon bars are the perfect springtime treat: with a tart and sweet Meyer lemon custard baked on top of a layer of buttery shortbread.

These sunny Meyer lemon bars are as delicious as they are easy, with a layer of tender shortbread topped with an easy, shortcut lemon curd: no stovetop required! Dust with a generous flurry of powdered sugar for the perfect springtime treat!

Stacks of sliced Meyer Lemon Bars on a turquoise background, with whole and half Meyer lemons

There seem to be two kinds of lemon bar recipes floating around the internets.

Both have shortbread bases, but one has a thicker layer of what is essentially egg yolk-heavy lemon curd, usually cooked on a stovetop and then poured on top of the fully baked shortbread.

The second features a thinner layer of lemon custard that’s simply mixed together and poured on top of the semi-baked shortbread, then finished off in the oven together.

As pretty as that ultra thick layer of lemon curd is, that kind of recipe uses upwards of 8 or 9 eggs for a small 8-inch pan. And with the grocery situation as it stands now, I just couldn’t bare to sacrifice so many eggs, even for a cause as delicious as lemon bars. Thus my decision to go with the later style.

Stack of three triangular-sliced Meyer Lemon Bars on a turquoise plate

This recipe only uses 3 eggs (actually 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk – save that leftover egg white for a cocktail or something), and when you’ve only got 15 odd eggs left, 3 is a much more reasonable amount.

Granted, you don’t end up with the perfectly defined, perfectly smooth-topped, rich yolky yellow layer of lemon curd. Instead, the curd and the shortbread sort of melt together in the oven, and the top takes on a bit of a crispy, bubbly appearance, which I actually find quite delightful (the crispiness will soften as the bars sit, so it’s more aesthetic than anything). And besides, with a hearty sprinkle of powdered sugar you can’t really see it anyway.

But honestly, I feel like the ratio of lemon to shortbread is better with this simpler method, with the buttery shortbread balancing out the tart sweetness of the lemon, so it’s a win-win-win in my mind (those wins being fewer eggs, easier process, and better proportions in the final product).

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Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter Blondies

Talk about delightful—these soft and chewy brown butter chocolate chunk blondies have a layer of gooey nutella hidden inside. One good thing stuffed inside another good thing: does it get any better? In this case you have a layer of molten hazelnut spread inside a chewy brown butter blondie, studded with chocolate chunks and crunchy […]

Talk about delightful—these soft and chewy brown butter chocolate chunk blondies have a layer of gooey nutella hidden inside.

One good thing stuffed inside another good thing: does it get any better? In this case you have a layer of molten hazelnut spread inside a chewy brown butter blondie, studded with chocolate chunks and crunchy hazelnuts.

Overhead shot of Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter Blondies cut into squares with a bowl of chocolate chunks and hazelnuts on the side.

Blondies are tricky little buggers. They seem simple, but so often they come out greasy and underdone despite ample baking times; in fact this result is so common that most people think blondies are supposed to be dense, gooey and almost cookie dough-like in the middle.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some cookie dough, but that’s not quite what I was going for here.

Most blondie recipes call for you to stir the sugar into melted butter, then whisk in the eggs followed by the dry ingredients. Basically a chocolate-less version of your typical brownie, like my favorite espresso brownie recipe.

Unfortunately, this method often leads to greasy blondies with dry, crispy edges that seem undercooked even after baking for far longer than the recipe states. Not ideal.

Close up showing the layer of nutella in the middle of the brown butter blondies.

With a bit of testing and lot of research (aka intense googling that ultimately led me to Stella Parks’ thoughts on the subject), it turns out the difference between undercooked, greasy blondies and perfectly chewy, cookie-like blondies is… air.

So instead of mixing the sugar into the butter and then adding the eggs, instead we beat the sugar and the eggs together first, until they are light in color and thick but not stiff. Then add the melted butter (browned butter, in this case) followed by the dry ingredients and the mix ins.

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