September and October seem to be the months when the winter visitors will be returning to SaddleBrooke. We all love to get together and discover all the adventures our friends have had over the summer. And, we also love to have some goodies to serve. I happened to see the following recipe on Debbie Macomber’s website. Yes, the fabulous author, Debbie Macomber. I emailed her to ask for permission to use this addition to my recipe collection and to publish it here for all of you to enjoy. Fresh orange juice infuses the bars with that flavor reminiscent of some of our favorite childhood (and present) frozen treats!
Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake Bars
6 ounces graham cracker crumbs (11 crackers)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch kosher salt
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
1/2 cup orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
1 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract
Whipped cream, for serving
Thin orange slices, quartered, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter and salt until butter is absorbed. Press this mixture into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until slightly golden brown and fragrant. Set the pan aside and turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
While the crust is baking, use a handheld mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, and orange zest together until smooth. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Slowly mix in the orange juice until smooth. Pour over the hot crust and bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center no longer jiggles when shaken. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 25 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, powdered sugar, and orange extract until smooth. Spread over the warm filling, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely.
Just before serving, cut into nine squares and top with whipped cream, and a quartered orange slice. So good!