August 2, 2011

Cherry Cheesecake Squares

So, you decided to sign up for a local food box program.

Why? Because you thought it would be fun. You thought that it would put you on the {hardcore} list. The {ya, my produce is local, is yours?} list.

But now, your food box comes once a week, and your fridge is looking like green acres.

You hoped your fridge would look more like a beautiful sea of reds, and purples, and oranges. But  instead, all you get is green.

Today, in your fridge, you have 1 ginormous head of lettuce, garlic spears?, zucchini, arugula, green onions, leeks, spinach, and green peppers. I wasn't kidding. Green Acres, for sure.

Last week you ordered raspberries, rhubarb, and cherries.

The rhubarb came, and it was green. Great. Toss it with the rest, in green acres.

The raspberries came and they were moldy. Great. Toss them in the compost.

The cherries came and they were soft.

Come on. Seriously?

Ok, so seeing as chocolate and cheesecake are your two favorite desserts. And well... you made brownies last week. Might as well stay on the dessert train and make a cherry cheesecake. Uhm, I mean, cherry cheesecake dessert bars. They're different, right? Also, we need to use up them cherries.

Here's a trick. Whenever you're left with an abundance of fruit that is either super ripe, or just looks unappetizing {blemishes, bruises, etc.}, chop it up. Add some sugar. Boil it up. Pow. Heavenly.

And then you make some sort of dessert, because, well...... dessert is like a serving tray for fruit.

To make your cherry serving tray, you will first need graham cracker crumbs. Or mashed up graham crackers. same thing.

Take a minute. Smell the graham crackers. Aren't they heavenly.

Now, melt some butter on the stove top, or in the microwave. Your preference.

Some people feel weirded out by microwaves. Just saying.

Mix the butter and grahams together like they were meant to be.

Line a pan with tin foil, because it just makes life easier. Don't forget to recycle that tin foil when you are finished.  Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Smush them into a pan and bake. Mmmmm, don't you love the smell of toasty graham crackers.

Next. Grab them cherries. Wash them up. Pull off their tails. Remove the seeds with a cherry pitter or your hands.

This is messy business. Too messy to photograph! Instead, I will show you a picture of the prettiest cherries in the bunch.

After you have pitted the cherries, boil them with water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch, and watch it thicken.

Soon your cherries will have the same consistency as canned cherries. Magic.

I used a mixture of Bing and Rainier cherries.

They were both {grrrr} soft and overripe. It was a must.

Once your crust is baked and your cherries have thickened, it's time to make some cheesecake squares.

First you need some cream cheese. Preferably full fat.

Don't be like me and waste 10 minutes at the grocery store, staring at the low-fat then full-fat, then low-fat then full-fat.

It's cheesecake squares dangit. Just get the full-fat.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, and eggs until it's smooth and delicious. Smooth enough for a cheesecake party.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the crust. Top it with the cherries. Bake it up. Let it cool for 3 hours. Way too long, I know.

If you attempt to cut the cheesecake squares before they have cooled, you will be left with a mess.

Maybe that's what you like? That's cool.

Cheesecake squares are awesome. Especially with fresh cherries. And..... you don't need that fancy cheesecake pan. 

[Print Recipe]


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp butter, melted
3 cups of fresh pitted cherries
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp corn starch
20 ounces cream cheese {2 1/2 packages}, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Line a 9 X 13" baking dish with aluminum or parchment paper, and then spay the sides and bottom of the pan with cooking oil. {Lining the baking dish with foil/parchment paper will allow you to remove the squares from the pan more easily. Just pull up on the paper to remove from the pan.}

3. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

4. While the crust is baking, wash and pit the cherries. {canned cherries can also be substituted for fresh}

5. Place the cherries, water, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and corn starch in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, flour, vanilla, and eggs, with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth {5 minutes}.

7. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust and then top with the cherries. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 F.

8. Remove the squares from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place in the fridge and let chill for 2 hours. Cut and serve.


  1. These are stunningly beautiful and definitely my kinda dessert!

    p.s. I'm one of the cool kids with a basket being delivered, but I didn't get any beautiful cherries down my way. Sadly, I don't think my watermelon will do me much good for cheesecake squares ;-)

  2. I bet you could find something tasty to make with that watermelon!

  3. This looks amazing!
    My roommate and I have been doing the co-op lately and it is definitely green acres up in our place. :)

  4. Lovely summer dessert. Those cherries totally pop. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till tomorrow night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your cheesecake up.

  5. we gave up on the produce box b/c it was super expensive and I found myself tossing out the stuff that we don't often use or don't prefer. Now I just head over to the farmer's market with an idea of what I need for the week and a flexible attitude in case they don't have exactly what I want :)

  6. I want these cherry cheesecake squares. They look super yummy. You have a great blog! I'm glad I stumbled Across it.

  7. These look good! i'm thinking of making them for a christmas party :)

  8. My whole family loved it, thank you very much for sharing the recipe.