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Growing up, everyone loved Mom’s Cheesecake Squares. Unfortunately, the recipe was lost somewhere during the process of compiling my first cookbook A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®. Both mom and I thought it was important to include the recipe in our book, so I set out to recreate it. After some online research along with a few experiments, we finally hit on what Mom and I both thought was her original recipe! I still love these delectable bites. They are different from most cheesecake cookies in two ways – we use finely chopped pecans instead of graham cracker crumbs in the crust, and we add lemon juice and zest to the cream cheese. Every bite fulfills my cheesecake craving – and takes me back to my mom’s kitchen!
Serves: Makes 16 cookies
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-by-8 inch baking dish.
- With an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until well blended. Place the flour and nuts in the bowl, turn on low, slowly increasing speed to incorporate. You will need to stop a few times and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Reserve ½ cup mixture for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Again using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, blend together the sugar and cream cheese until creamy and smooth.
- With the machine running, add the egg, then the lemon juice, zest, milk and vanilla. Beat until well mixed, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Pour mixture evenly over the hot baked crust and sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes. It will puff up and then settle back down.
- Cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate.
- Cut into 16 bars. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.