These rich creamy bars with their bracing citrus accent and crisp gingersnap crust are irresistible, yet quite easy to make. For the crust you’ll need only three ingredients–ground ginger snaps, sugar, and melted butter. This mixture, packed into a pan and baked for a few minutes, is topped with a cheesecake-type batter flavored with bits of crystallized ginger and lime. The mixture is baked 25 minutes, and then a final addition of sour cream, sugar, and lime zest is spread over the thin cream cheese layer. Five more minutes of baking and this dessert is done!
Lime and Ginger Cream Cheese Bars
14 to16 gingersnap cookies or more, ground in a food processor to yield 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus extra butter for greasing the baking pan
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons, divided
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
7 tablespoons sour cream, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons grated lime zest, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Thin julienned lime peel and several mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.
2. In a food processor, combine ground ginger snaps and sugar and process until well mixed, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and pulse until just combined. Using your fingers, press mixture firmly onto the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8 minutes, then remove pan from oven to cool 15 minutes.
3. In a mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar and cornstarch until just combined. Then beat in the egg and 2 tablespoons of the sour cream. Add ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest and lime juice; beat until just combined. Pour mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. The cream cheese layer will be only about 1/2 inch thick. Bake until a tester comes out nearly clean, about 25 minutes.
4. Remove pan from oven, but retain oven temperature. Whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons sour cream, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest in a small bowl, then spread mixture evenly over the top of the cream cheese layer. Return pan to oven and bake 5 minutes. Remove and cool in the pan; then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. To serve, cut into 12 equal-sized bars. Arrange bars on a serving platter. If desired, garnish each bar with julienned lime peel, and garnish platter with mint sprigs. Makes 12 bars.
© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2012
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