I am delighted to have Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic here for my first ever guest post. Kim is hysterically funny, full of life and energy, and just the sweetest gal in the world. We share the love of desserts (DO check out all her amazing turtle posts) plus the joys of having older children at home. She is the first to offer you a kind word or compliment…and has generously shared many hints on blogging with me. Find Kim on facebook, twitter and Google+. Please extend a warm welcome to my dear friend, Kim:
I was so thrilled when Liz asked me to guest post for her. I adore this lady oodles and bunches. She is the sweetest person and such an amazing cook and baker. So of course when she asked me to do this I jumped at the chance. For those who know me it’s likely I fell down while jumping at the chance. It’s how I roll. Literally!
For those who do not know me I am the one running the asylum over at Cravings of a Lunatic. My motto is “I crave it, I make it, I eat it!”, and I tend to live by those words daily. I enjoy being in the kitchen far too much. There is nothing I enjoy more than taking a recipe and turning it on it’s head. I love to experiment, some are epic fails and some are epic wins. They are all learning experiences. Some more painful than others.
I knew when Liz asked me to guest for her that I wanted to make a bar type recipe. She makes the most amazing bar recipes and one day while visiting her I realized I really do not do them often enough. So I did something I rarely do when making cheesecake, I followed a recipe. I figured being new to the bar world that I should learn the ropes first before I go off and do crazy things with them. I started looking around for inspiration and it came in the form of an old Kraft What’s Cooking magazine from 2007. Apparently I am so busy cooking I never clean out my old cooking magazines. This one is a gem though. The recipe is wonderful. They make theirs by using cream cheese and cool whip. I usually do mine with cream cheese and confectioners sugar. So I took a walk on the wild side is this is how it turned out. Hope you like it. Full credit goes to Kraft Kitchens for lighting the way to bar utopia.
Smoothie Cheesecake Bars:
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 packages of Light Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
2 cups frozen mixed berries (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry), thawed and well drained
3 cups thawed Cool Whip Light Topping, divided
Line a 13 x 9 pan with parchment paper. I wet mine to make it more pliable and easier to fit in the pan well. Make sure to leave some overhang as you will use it to lift it out after.
Mix your graham crumbs and butter together until well combined. Press into the bottom of the pan. Stick in the fridge while preparing the filling.
Beat the cream cheese and vanilla sugar in a stand mixer (or in a bowl and use a hand mixer) on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add you berries and mix briefly. Stir in 2 cups of the Cool Whip. Mix again.
Pour this over prepared crust and smooth out. Cover and stick in the fridge for about 6 hours.
Once firm and set, you can remove it from the pan by pulling up on the parchment overhang you left. Place on a cutting board and cut into squares. You can top with extra
cool whip if desired.
Serve with a big old cheesecakey smile!
Tips and hints:
Here’s my thoughts on this cheesecake, first of all it is so darn good I must have eaten half of it while taking photos.
But…(there’s always buts with food bloggers) I would swap out regular cream cheese for the light. I found it a bit too soft. I think the regular cream cheese holds it’s shape better. So if not concerned about calories use the good stuff.
I would also use regular cool whip for the same reason.
I would probably make it with confectioners sugar next time to be honest. I like that method a bit better. This was fab though.
You can find my recipe for vanilla sugar HERE, but if you don’t have any just use regular sugar as the original recipe calls for.
Thank you Liz for allowing me the honour of guest posting for you. You know I adore you and plan to come live with you as soon as one of your kids moves out. I need my own room. I’m spoiled like that. Then I will finally learn the secret to how you stay so skinny and bake the way you do. I am utterly jealous and hoping your magic works on me too.
I hope all of Liz’s readers enjoyed the recipe today. Feel free to stop by and check out how the not so skinny chick bakes over at Cravings of a Lunatic. I’m also obsessively on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to stalk me anywhere and everywhere. The more the merrier. I feed my stalkers well at the asylum. Things like popcorn and ice cream and all things Turtle, even Turtle popcorn and Turtle ice cream. I also have a serious obsession with baking with cereal which is odd for someone who doesn’t actually eat cereal. It’s a whole milk thing, you don’t wanna know. It’s better to just walk away and pretend you didn’t hear that. You know, like kids do to their parents. Just do that.
Toodles and smoochies! xx
Didn’t I tell you Kim is hilarious? And these bars look truly awesome…she knows my love for berry desserts 🙂 Now pop on over to her blog and show her some love. Thanks so much, Kim, for infusing my blog with some PINK and your baking enthusiasm!!! I will have dreams of this magnificent, decadent dessert tonight. Your room is awaiting your arrival. xx