There is nothing quite like these balsamic strawberry cheesecake bars with shortbread crust. The balsamic complements the sweetness of the strawberries and deepens its flavor without any "vinegary" taste.
My favorite way to eat strawberries is with balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. The sweet, tart tang of balsamic vinegar pairs perfectly with berries. The balsamic enhances the berry's flavor while adding its own sweetness and depth. If you are afraid that the berries end up "vinegary," worry not! No one will be able to tell there was any balsamic used. Instead, it works to just a little extra something that makes the strawberries taste incredible.
Add this to a cheesecake bar with a lemony shortbread bottom, and you've got yourself the perfect dessert. And these bars have perfect portion control. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from eating two or three of these bad boys. I know I did - I have the food baby to prove it!
The balsamic strawberry cheesecake bars came to me during a serious cheesecake withdraw. I don't know if I've told you, but cheesecake is my favorite dessert. Especially lemon cheesecake. And cheesecake with crunchy honeycomb, drizzled with chocolate ganache. Oh my god. I just had a foodgasm thinking about it. Maybe I'll make it for you when I can find some honeycomb in this area. I never go for strawberry cheesecake, but considering my love for balsamic strawberries, I knew this would be a good idea. And it was. It really was.
What you are going to love about these balsamic strawberry cheesecake bars is that they have the delicious flavor of strawberry cheesecake, with and added depth and tartness from the vinegar. Basically, these strawberry cheesecake bars are perfect for anyone who isn't lactose intolerant. Although, I just looked and there is dairy-free cream cheese that you can try using. So, yes, this is perfect for everyone.
Oh, and I highly recommend saving your leftover balsamic strawberry jam and spreading it on bagels for breakfast. Trust me on this one. You'll thank me later!
Don't have time to make these heavenly cheesecake bars now? Pin it for later!
Lemon Shortbread Crust
- ¼ cup (58 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 ¼ cup (156 g) all-purpose flour
Balsamic Strawberry Jam
- 1 ½ cup (249 g) sliced strawberries
- ¼ cup (63 mL) balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (25 mL) water
- 16 ounces (450 g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- chocolate chips (optional, but recommended!)
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
- Make the balsamic strawberry jam by marinating the strawberries in the balsamic vinegar for about 30 minutes (if you don't feel like waiting, you can skip this step, but I don't recommend it). Toss the strawberries in a pot with the sugar and water and heat on medium until the juices start to release and bubble. Simmer for about 5 - 8 minutes, or until the sauces thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Make the shortbread by creaming the butter and sugar together until light. Add in the lemon zest. Slowly work in the flour with your hands until well-combined. Press into the bottom of a greased 9x9 pan, prick several times with a fork, and blind bake for about 10 minutes.
- Make the cheesecake filling by beating the cream cheese until smooth. Add the egg, sugar and vanilla.
- Pour half the cream cheese filling over the shortbread. Spread some of the balsamic strawberry jam over the cream ceese. Add the remaining cream cheese and top with the remaining jam.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
- Top with chocolate chips if desired