Monday, May 14, 2012

Rhubarb-Cranberry Ginger Cream Cheese Bars

You know what I realized when flipping through magazines and websites to determine what to eat this week? I have yet to post a cheesecake on this joint. It's mind-boggling how that could even be possible. I used to make cheesecake all the time! Cream cheese bars are going to have to be close enough for now.

During mise en place, I discovered I'd picked up an inadequate quantity of rhubarb, only half what I needed. Remembering that strawberries are often coupled with rhubarb in pie, I looked for a decent something in my pantry to substitute. Little tart fruits, dried cranberries would have to pinch hit.

How well cheese, cranberries and rhubarb will be when combined with ginger, well, I wasn't too sure what to think of that going in.

Rhubarb-Cranberry Ginger Cream Cheese Bars
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/4 c sliced fresh rhubarb (about 12 oz.)(3/4 inch)*
1 1/4 c dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350°F.

Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.

Beat butter in medium bowl at medium speed 1 minute or until creamy.

Beat in brown sugar 30 to 60 seconds or until well-blended.

At low speed, beat in flour, oats and salt 30 to 60 seconds or until crumbly.

Press oat mixture into bottom of pan.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed 1 minute or until fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Beat in sugar 1 minute or until creamy.

At low speed, beat in sour cream 15 seconds.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in vanilla and ginger.

Sprinkle rhubarb and cranberries over crust; cover with batter.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned, and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Remove from pan using foil; cut into bars.

You know what? I didn't follow the recipe exactly. Half of the oat crust was supposed to be reserved and then sprinkled over the bars after 20 minutes of baking. Oops. The crust seemed really thick -- I'm talkin' nearly a 1:1 ratio of cheese to crust per bite. I kind of liked it but I bet it would've been good as a crunchy topping. I'll have to try this recipe again: all rhubarb, 1/2 crust and 1/2 topping.

Oh yep, the bars did taste really good. The ginger wasn't weird at all, very complimentary. The bars were sweet enough that I didn't really notice the rhubarb being too tart. Of course, I had used only half the recommended quantity. Again, I'll have to revisit these.

  • butter: $0.27
  • light brown sugar: $0.39
  • all-purpose flour: $0.17
  • old-fashioned oats: $0.10
  • cream cheese: $1.50
  • sugar: $0.18
  • sour cream: $0.26
  • 2 eggs: $0.32
  • vanilla extract: $0.07
  • fresh ginger: $0.04
  • fresh rhubarb: $0.61
  • dried cranberries: $0.63
Total: $4.54 or $0.51 for each of 9 bars.