Swirled Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry is the must-have flavor for spring.

Chef Leslie from Harmons shares her recipe for swirled strawberry cheesecake bars.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 3 crackers)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed, hulled and cut into quarters
1/4 cup water
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

To make the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, graham crackers and sugar. Cut in the butter, mixing until the dough resembles sand. Press evenly into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes until the crust is slightly golden. Let cool.

To make the filling, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the strawberries, water, sugar and salt. Cover and let cook until strawberries have broken down slightly, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend or pulse until desired consistency, chunky or smooth. Let cool and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the sour cream, a pinch of salt, lemon juice and vanilla and combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until blended.

Pour the cheesecake filling on the crust and spread evenly. Pour six strawberry dollops onto the cheesecake, using a knife, drag it through the cheesecake, making swirling patterns of strawberry throughout the cheesecake. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheesecake is set. Let cool and refrigerate prior to serving. Enjoy!

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