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Lemon and Raspberry Bars

My friend, Mandy, recently sent me a website called www.foodgawker.com and let me tell you, I took gawking to a new level.  It is completely drool inducing, and really gets me excited to get cooking and baking!  It is a compilation of some of the best food pics out there.  The best part is that it links the picture to the blog, so you can easily get the recipe!  The recipe I kept going back to was for lemon and raspberry bars.  It was posted by a great blog called Live Love Pasta, and I will definitely be checking back often for new recipes and inspiration!

We had a little family picnic on Sunday, and I thought these would be the perfect end to the meal!  Luckily, I had the cutest little helper to make these!  My 2 1/2 year old niece, Claire, helped me crush the crackers and pour them into the bowl.  That did get a little messy more than once, but she did a great job.

The only adaptation I made was doing a bit more graham crackers, because we didn’t have an 8×8 pan so we used an 8×13.  I increased the crust to about 1 3/4 cups or maybe even 2 cups of the itty bitty gritty sweet crumbs.

Make these.  Tonight.  They are simple and amazing!

(I’m posting this with the original recipe measurements)

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 packs)

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

zest of 1 lemon

Filling

2 large egg yolks

1, 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (which will probably take 4 or 5 lemons)

1 tsp lemon zest

6 oz fresh raspberries

Preheat your oven to 350.  Spray your pan.  (Don’t forget this step.  I did, but luckily remembered before it went in the oven, so the crumbs went back in the bowl, sprayed and then back to the pan.  If you like to make a simple recipe take longer like I do, follow this step 😉 )Crush the graham crackers and put in a bowl.  Mix in the butter and lemon juice until all of the crumbs are slightly wet.  Press the crumbs into the greased pan and slightly up the side.  Bake the crust for about 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Crack the eggs and place the yolk only in another medium size mixing bowl.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir until well combined.  Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest until slightly thickened.  Gently stir in the raspberries.  Be careful not to break the raspberries, so you have the pretty pops of pink in the yellow and that the pink does not bleed into the bars.

Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth so it’s evenly covered.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until it’s just set (with no wiggle in the middle).

Cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for several hours.  I ended up freezing them for a bit to make sure that they really set.  I didn’t make them far enough in advance to get the right texture just in the fridge.

They were delicious!  A perfect sweet and tart summer dessert!

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Raspberry Cheesecake- Marbled Brownies

What could be better than brownies and cheesecake baked together to form a  mouthful of absolute pure bliss.  Oh yeah, adding raspberry to the party!

I found this recipe while recently exploring one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  I upped the yumm factor a bit by adding in seedless raspberry fruit spread into the cheesecake batter.  These were a big hit with all who ate them.

Despite the recipe being a few different steps and using a few bowls (which is probably only a big deal to a dishwasherless person like me) it was very simple to make.

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Plus
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

For the brownie batter:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Mix in about 3 heaping spoon fulls of the raspberry fruit spread.  Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

Use the tip of a knife to swirl the cheesecake batter into the brownies.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake the pan full of heaven for about 35 minutes, until they are set and the cheesecake seems a bit puffy.