Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cherry Cheesecake Squares

A week or so ago I made this fancy-ish dessert for a fancy shin-dig for which I too had to look fancy.  I love fancifying simple recipes or staples and making them shine a little brighter.  Pancake mix? Fancified.  Ramen? Fancified.  Boxed caked mix? Fancified.

I would prefer making recipes fancy than having to endure the process of "dolling up" myself on a regular basis.  Still, seeing the end result can be amusing (especially when I reflect upon the blank and unfortunately frizzy canvas with which I typically begin).

Here is a little look at what a fancified woman must endure to become thus:
  • Hunting for and sometimes painfully removing all insurgent hairs often found upon the legs and surrounding the eyebrows.
  • Crafting, through trial and error, a strict formula that allows her to calculate at what time she should wash her hair in order for it to dry before her fancy event and still appear the most devoid of frizz.  
  • Checking for runs in tights and applying clear nail-polish to the baby snags threatening to mature.
  • Carefully painting the nails on her right hand red with her less-than-steady already painted left-hand and somehow managing to avoid looking like she has ripped the bloody entrails out of a dying animal when finished.  It's just her fire engine red polish, she swears.  
  • Make-up-ing.  Knowing how to apply just enough to highlight the good stuff and play down the not-so-good stuff.
  • Deciding between the light black skirt or the dark gray skirt.  Yes, there's a difference.  
  • Walking in pointy heels without toppling over and breaking something or poking somebody's eye out.

Even the fancified woman requires a recipe.  Thankfully, this one usually just improvises.  

Cherry Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Betty Crocker

Yields: 24 squares


Crust and Topping
1 (1 lb 1.5 oz) package Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/4 cup cold butter, in chunks
4 oz (half a package) of cream cheese, in chunks
sprinkle of sugar

20 oz cream cheese (2 and 1/2 packages), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 can (20 oz) cherry pie filling


Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  With cooking spray, grease the bottom and sides of a 13"x9" baking pan.

Empty the sugar cookie mix into a large bowl.  Using two forks or a pastry blender, cut in 4 oz of cream cheese and butter into mix, until dough resembles the size of small peas and feels crumbly.  Set aside 1 and 1/2 cup of the mixture for the topping.  Evenly press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the baking pan, and slightly up the sides.  Sprinkle lightly with extra sugar.  Bake cookie crust for 12 minutes.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and eggs on medium speed with a mixer until smooth.

Scoop cream cheese mixture onto the cookie crust and spread it out evenly.  Gently spoon pie filling evenly across the top of the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the reserved cookie crumbles onto the cherry filling.  

Bake squares for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.  Remove pan from oven and cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.  The puffiness of the squares will deflate during cooling; do not be alarmed.  Refrigerate the bars for 3 hours or overnight until set.  Slice squares and serve, or store squares covered in the fridge.  


  1. I love cheesecake in bar form--somehow, I feel much less guilty eating it that way. :) With the cherries, this would be such a great dessert to bring to a summer get-together!

  2. Was it Thoreau who warned against any enterprise that required new clothes? I apply the same rule to fancy dress occasions. Although I'm always happy to eat fancy chow, and this look spectacular. Fun post - thanks.