Upon being invited to a barbecue recently, I announced that it would be a good time to try out a recipe for some cheesecake-y blueberry lemon bars.
“No. No lemon,” one of our friends declared. “Lemon is gross.”
(I think he was at least halfway joking.)
The rest of the group immediately objected.
“Yes! Make lemon bars. Don’t listen to him!”
So lemon bars, it was, and while our one friend didn’t dig into the Tupperware, the entire batch disappeared quickly, and I had absolutely zero leftovers.
And that’s with a recipe that features a cake mix as a base, which made it super easy to put together.
This comes from the blog “Lemon Blossoms,” by Kathy McDaniel. You can find the original post at https://www.lemonblossoms.com/blog/lemon-blueberry-crumb-bars/. I added vanilla in my version.
Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars
- 8 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 yellow cake mix
- 2 eggs divided
- 1/4 cup lemon juice divided
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the edges so it’s easier to remove the bars from the pan later. Set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cake mix, one egg and two tablespoons lemon juice. Beat the ingredients together until they’re smooth
- Dump about two-thirds of the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press it down evenly on the bottom of the pan with your hands.
- In another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until it is well combine. Beat in one egg, lemon zest, vanilla and two tablespoons lemon juice until the mixture is smooth.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the batter layer in the baking dish. Evenly distribute the blueberries on the top of the cream cheese.
- Crumbling it with your fingers, evenly sprinkle the rest of the batter over the top of the blueberries. You will have gaps, and that’s OK.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center is set.
- While the bars bake, whisk the ingredients for the glaze together. It should be just thin enough to be pourable. If your mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more lemon juice.
- When the bars are finished, drizzle the glaze over the hot bars, and then let the bars cool completely before placing them in the refrigerator for about one-half hour.
- Carefully lift the bars out of the dish with the parchment paper and slice.
- Serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
These were lightly sweet with a nice combination of fruit flavors and just a bit of tartness from the lemon juice and zest. They were a huge hit at the barbecue.
And, being the peacemaker I am, I may have made a second, lemon-free dessert to go on the table, too. You have to give the people what they want, I suppose—even if they’re wrong about lemons.
This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 17, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.