Take Dessert Outside The Box
As much as everyone has their favorite tried-and-true desserts, this unique recipe for Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars will have you adding this to your recipe line-up! It’s completely outside the box - take it to your next pot-luck and WOW everyone with this unique and delicious combination.
Sometimes the best ideas come from being challenged to create something new and that’s what happened here! One minute you’re swapping recipes with friends and, the next you’re grating cucumbers into cheesecake dessert bars… wait, what?!
Yes, you heard right – Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars!
If you haven’t tried using cucumber in a dessert, let’s remember that combining vegetables in dessert isn’t completely foreign. Think of carrot cake, where the sweet, earthy carrots perfectly balance out the nutty pecans and simultaneously help take the edge off the super sweet cream cheese frosting. Together, the combination of flavors makes for an award-winning dessert.
Think of something light, but creamy, not overly sweet, and has a depth of flavors. Cheesecake bars hit all of the marks, with a crisp, crunchy graham cracker crust, and a smooth, tart cheesecake filling. Adding in some grated cucumber only seemed like the appropriate next step to help mellow out the sweet and add another layer of flavor. Using Pure Flavor® Mini Cucumbers, these Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars are pleasantly balanced between sweet and tart (thanks, lime juice!), and have subtle fresh undertones from the cucumbers. They quite literally taste the way you feel after a day at the spa – which let’s just say is incredible!
Now that before you start, there are a few steps that you need to be vigilant about for when making these Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars for them to turn out correctly.
Cucumbers hold a lot of water, so after you grate them, it’s important to completely drain them. For any other savory recipe, this can be done with adding salt, letting them sit, and then draining the water that the salt draws out. However, for a sweet recipe, using the salt method wouldn’t make sense, so the best method is simply squeezing the moisture out. Once you grate the cucumber, put it in a cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, or several layers of paper towels, and squeeze the daylights out of it until most of the water is out. If you don’t get the water out, it’s adding additional moisture to the bars, which would mean the consistency and cook time are compromised, and it would essentially no longer be a cheesecake.
Two other things to be aware of when making these bars are the pan size and baking time. Cheesecake can be an easy thing to make, but if you don’t cook it long enough, it’s completely inedible (unlike cookies – hello gooey center!). So, consider the pan size and cook time partners in crime when creating this. Push your crust into your pan of choice and try to visualize the thickness of the cheesecake layer on top. The smaller the pan and thicker the layer, the more cook time you’ll need. Conversely, the larger the pan, and thinner the layer, the less cook time you’ll need. For this recipe, use the suggested 9×9 inch pan and about 25 minutes of cook time. Be on high alert and checking the bars around 22 minutes. You’ll know they are done when the edges of the bars look “set” or “cooked”, and even start to get golden brown. The center of the cheesecake shouldn’t jiggle much at all. When in doubt, cook it for another minute or two!
The cooling process is also quite important so that the cheesecake mixture has time to set. When you take them out of the oven, allow the bars to cool completely on the countertop. This may take over an hour. (It will be hard to resist but trust us on this!) When the bars and pan are cool to the touch, stick the entire thing into the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight. After refrigeration, they’re ready to cut and serve. Keep the garnish simple, with some lime zest and whipped cream, fresh fruit, or even some additional cucumber slices!
The end result is like treating yourself to that “spa day” feeling just by making these delicious Cucumber Lime Cheesecake Bars. You’ll keep your friends and family coming back for seconds and wondering what that ever so refreshing, secret ingredient was. This dessert is the perfect opportunity to try something new and think outside the box when it comes to serving food to family and friends.