Sweet Confections for Super Bowl Bashes

Lime Ginger Cream Cheese Bars 1 3383x2728Here in New England, everyone is gearing up for Super Bowl XLIX, cheering for the Pats (and hoping that Deflategate will soon be resolved!) Like many, I’m planning on making a big pot of chili this Sunday to stave off the frigid temperatures of the last few days, but I’m far more excited about the scrumptious Lime and Ginger Cream Cheese Bars that will end the menu.

Simple, quick, and addictive, they are prepared with a crust of ground ginger snaps, sugar, and melted butter, all combined and packed onto the bottom of a baking pan. The creamy filling is made with a cheesecake-style batter enhanced with bits of crystallized ginger and a robust accent of lime. The batter is baked until set, then cooled and chilled before it is cut into bars, so you can definitely prepare this dessert in advance. I created this recipe quite a few years ago, but recently updated it for my blog.

These slim bars are only about an inch high, but are packed with flavor. You can garnish them with some julienned lime peel for an extra burst of color, or serve them unadorned. Either way, these sweet treats will make a winning finale for a Super Bowl Sunday supper!

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Lime and Ginger Cream Cheese Bars

Crust
3/4 cup packed gingersnap crumbs (made with 14 to 16 ginger snap cookies—about 3 ounces--ground finely in a food processor)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus extra butter for greasing the baking pan

Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons, divided
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1/4 cup plus 3 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 for the 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 the ground ginger snaps with the sugar and process until mixed well, about 30 seconds. Add the melted butter and pulse until just combined. Using your fingers, press this mixture firmly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 8 minutes, then remove the pan from oven and cool 15 minutes.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed and using the flat paddle attachment if you have one, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch until combined. Then beat in the egg and 2 tablespoons of the sour cream. Add the ginger, 11/2 teaspoons lime zest and lime juice, and beat until just combined. Pour mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a metal 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 the pan from the 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 the mixture evenly over the top of the cream cheese layer. Return the pan to oven and bake 5 minutes. Remove and cool in the pan; then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. To serve, cut into 9 equal-sized bars. Arrange bars on a serving platter. If desired, garnish each bar with julienned lime peel. Makes 9 bars.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom  2015

6 thoughts on “Sweet Confections for Super Bowl Bashes

    • I used Lars Swedish gingersnaps from Whole Foods, but have also baked the bars with Nabisco gingersnaps. Both work well.

  1. Not sure what crystalized ginger is. Is it sold with the spices? is it dried ginger that I chop? Not sure where to look for it.
    looks delicious for our Patriots party!

    • Cookware and specialty food stores would have it, and probably your Whole Foods. Crystallized ginger is pieces of ginger cooked and coated with sugar.

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