Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lavender Cheesecake Bars

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I wanted to get this recipe to you while culinary lavender is still available in markets. It was given to me a few weeks ago by a lavender grower of Viennese extraction. Her dessert is as lovely as she is, and it speaks to the wonderful richness of the country in which she spent her childhood. Like most pastry from the area, this is barely sweet and the use of lavender is so subtle that only a truly discerning palate could identify its presence without some help. I was not able to identify the flavor the first time I had these bars. Everyone who samples them can detect an unidentifiable, but pleasant, flavor lurking in the background. When told what it has we all share an "ah-ha" moment. The only trick to cooking with lavender is discretion. A very little of it goes a long way, and too much of it will make your food inedible. The lavender taste in this recipe comes from a mildly flavored sugar and from a scant teaspoon of fresh buds that are added to the streusel topping. This is a very simple recipe. There is, however, a trap waiting for those who read directions just before they plan to bake. You need lavender sugar, and, while it's child's play to make, it takes about a week for the lavender to imbue the sugar. I use a ratio of two tablespoons of lavender per cup of sugar and blend them in my food processor to make a mildly flavored sugar that I store for a week before using. Here, as in most of my recipes, I toast the almonds before baking with them. Toasted nuts give baked goods a real flavor boost and these bars have a wonderful almond flavor. If your not watching calories you'll love these rich bars. Here's the recipe.

Lavender Cheesecake Bars...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Oregon lavender growers



2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup chopped toasted almonds

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon salt


2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup lavender sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon fresh lavender buds


1) To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine brown sugar, almonds, flour, salt and melted butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until crumbly. Reserve one cup for streusel topping. Press remainder of mixture into bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

2) To make filling: Beat cream cheese with lavender sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, lemon juice, milk and vanilla. Pour over prepared crust. Mix lavender buds with reserved streusel topping. Sprinkle topping over cream cheese filling. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack until pan is room temperature. Cut into 24 bars. Refrigerate. Yield: 2 dozen 1-1/2 x 3-inch bars.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Honey Lavender Ice Cream - Kitchen Fervor

Lavender Chiffon Cake with Lime Curd - Technicolor Kitchen

Lavender Strawberry Shortcake - Vegalicious Recipes

Honey Lavendar Panna Cotta - Food Memoirs

Strawberry Lavender Lemonade - Andrea Meyers

Lavender Creme Brule - SippitySup

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