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I’ve got a serious weakness when it comes to cheesecake – and these Cream Cheese Crumb Bars are an easy (and delicious) way to get my fix!
This recipe is another huge score from my mother’s old recipe box and it’s the perfect option for when you have a craving for cheesecake – but don’t have the time to prepare the full dessert. The same light and buttery walnut-crumb mixture makes up the bottom crust as well as the topping – and a light and creamy cream cheese filling sweetens up the middle. The filling also has a slightly lemony flavor (thanks to the addition of fresh lemon juice) and it adds a perfect amount of brightness so that these bars are sweet – but not too sweet!
We cut our cream cheese crumb bars into 18 triangles for a bite-size treat – or you could serve this as larger squares for dessert. Either way – these are a delicious – and any cheesecake lover in your life will surely love these cream cheese crumb bars!
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar plus two tablespoons, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, chopped and divided
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk or light cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil pressing tightly up sides. This will help remove the finished bars once baked.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and the 1/3 cup of brown sugar until fluffy.
Add flour until just combined.
Remove from mixer and blend ½ of the chopped nuts in by hand and stir mixture until a small crumb forms. Reserve one cup of this mixture. Take remaining mixture and press into the prepared 8X8 pan and bake for 12 minutes. Place on rack to cool.
To the reserved cup of crumb mixture, add the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, remaining ½ cup chopped nuts and the one tablespoon of oil. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Place stand mixer bowl back on with paddle and cream the sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl and mix again.
Add egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until very light and creamy.
Pour this mixture into cooled pan over the cooked crust and top with reserved topping pressing just slightly into mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes and cool on a rack in the pan. Once cool, lift the foil edges up and place the bar on a cutting board. Fold the foil down flat and slip the foil out.
With a sharp serrated knife, cut the whole pan into 3 rows x 3 rows for total of nine squares. Then, if you’d like, cut each square in half corner to corner yielding 18 triangle pieces like we show in our photos.
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