The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays – cookouts, beach bonfires, fireworks…ah, fun times! One of the things I love about this holiday is how laid-back it is: you don’t have to worry about figuring out gifts to give or fancy outfits to wear, because what’s more important is just spending time with friends and family and hopefully enjoying a great meal.
When it came to brainstorming Fourth of July recipes, though, I hit a bit of a road block. Part of this road block is because I personally would probably be content with just a huge bowl of potato salad (as I’ve discussed previously, I have a bit of a potato obsession), but I suspect other people might like some more variety. Of course, I had somewhat intended the peanut butter bacon cheeseburgers from my last post to be a possible Independence Day menu item, but I still wanted something that looked distinctly patriotic. That said, excessive amounts of food dye freak me out, so that basically left me with…berries. I toyed with the idea of fresh berry French toast, but then I heard how ridiculous that sounded (Fourth of July French toast? Back to the drawing board…), and I eventually landed on cheesecake. So here you have it: very berry cheesecake squares!
It’s hard to tell from the photos, but in addition to the burst of color the berries on top add, the cheesecake squares themselves have a lovely pink tint, thanks to the pureed raspberries mixed in. You can use any combination of berries you like – whatever looks good to you! I even splurged and bought a quart of Michigan-grown strawberries, which were nearly too pretty to eat. They’re like little fruit jewels with their vibrant color and miniature size – aren’t they gorgeous?!
These very berry cheesecake squares will make a great addition to any Fourth of July spread – just be sure to keep them refrigerated or in a cooler until you’re ready to eat them!
What is your favorite thing about the Fourth of July?
- 14 ounces gingersnap cookies, crushed (I use Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 packages (225g each) light cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 10-12 ounces assorted berries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, pulse gingersnap cookies until finely and evenly ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until mixed. Transfer the mixture into the pan and press down firmly with your fingers. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. After the crust is done baking, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- With a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and mix until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Mix in the sour cream and cinnamon.
- In a food processor, puree 6 ounces of raspberries until liquefied. Strain the puree, discarding the seeds. Add the remaining liquid to the ingredients in the mixer, and mix until combined.
- Pour the mixture over the baked crust, and return to the oven for 30 minutes. It’s okay if the middle is still slightly wiggly, but the edges should be set. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 3-4 fours before cutting.
- Once chilled, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan by lifting up the parchment paper. Cut into 24 pieces (4 by 6) and top with assorted berries.
- Makes 24 bars.