Katie Dilse »

Pecan-Crusted Citrus Cheesecake bars

It’s harvest time. And the crew is hungry. With six big eaters, and six grocery buyers, we’re always picking up things here or there, and never knowing exactly what we have. can be aggravating. yet, can be awesome.

We can love chocolate, but our life needs to crave change. Disruptions.

Organization – not my forte. Improvising. bring it.

Am I speaking to you, free spirit?

Giving the rest of you a headache? Stick with me.

When the panic when the school concert is hours away, and two kleenix turn a size 9 shoe into the desired size 7. I. love. that.  Using mo-joe. The juicy juice. And the story box just grows.

So, yesterday, I found a great recipe. But didn’t have the ingredients. I was too far in, before I realized it! game. one.

And… can I tell you? Everyone who tasted this recipe went crazy for it. “Best bars ever.”

“These are incredible.”

“What’s the recipe?”

The secret recipe… was using what we have. Making do.
Like last year’s winter coat. Big brother’s hand-me-downs. Making vacation your style.

It’s forgetting what you don’t have. Embracing what is. And… walaaaaa. You have pizaaz. A new creation. Your creation.

This recipe was so far from the original… I’m claiming it. So you can love on it.

And.
dang.
it.
is.
good.

So…. before you even begin. Turn on the tunes, and enjoy the beauty of an indoor kitchen. Because, we came into this world with nothing. And here we are. Most of us are have a well-stocked kitchen. Enjoy it. Ignore the filthy windows, or the spilled OJ in the fridge. Just. Be. Creative.

This is a three-layer bar.
Crust.
Filling.
Cookie topping.
genius

The recipe I found called for 40 Nilla Wafers. Well, we have snackers. And the box was half empty. So, I reached for three opened bags of pecans. It equalled about a cup. or so.

For the crust:
20 Nilla wafers
1 Cup of pecans

Blend that goodness together. The fine crumbs will look so beautiful. Add a bit of butter… and a bit of sugar. And… that, my friends is the crust!

How easy is that? And… delish! The nutty flavor and the sweetness of Nilla wafers make a delicate crust! And you know what I love? No need to pre-bake it! Just keep grooving!

The recipe called for two blocks of cream cheese. Of course. I had one. But, there’s something super awesome in the back of my fridge. hiding from the snackers. the left over fruit pizza filling. delish.

I mixed one block of cream cheese with the leftover fruit pizza dip. Perfection.

The dip already had sugar – but, it makes the medicine go down. So, I added a little spoonful.

Now, for zest.
The burst of flavor.
Sunny lemon.
Yet, my bottle only has a drop. or two.

So… I dig.

And in the back of the pantry was orange flavoring.
Summer. Citrus. Refreshing. Sold.

Precision.
Bold. flavor.
Likely added two teaspoons, maybe three. Deliciousness.

Creamy filling.
Delicate Crust.

To finish it all… was a crunchy cookie layer!

Your regular flour, baking powder, with the most-amazing kicker… Ghiradelli White chocolate wafers – chopped on my favorite cutting board.

And… I know the harvest crew will be hungry tonight.
They’re always hungry, and the first-day jitters burn extra energy.
But… this heavenly recipe was ready for them.

Through my dirty kitchen window, the bar caught a few rays… a glowing creation.

Now… the hard part.
Thirty minutes of baking.
And the biggest question…
Will it be a total flop?
what are the odds?

Scrumptious.

Will I ever be a food blooger?
Nope.
I’ll be a farmer.
To fill your pantry.

Introducing…
The best first-day-of-harvest creation.


Pecan-Crusted Citrus Cheesecake Bars

For the crust:
1 C. Vanilla Wafers… about 30 wafers
1 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. melted butter

For the Cheesecake filling
1 pkg. (8 oz.) of cream cheese
1 C. of leftover fruit pizza topping. ( 8 cream cheese, 3 tbls butter, 1 tsp. almond flavoring)
1/4 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2-3 tsp. orange zest

For the cookie layer:
3/4 C. unsalted butter
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 tsp. Almond Extract (my bottle only had 2 drops!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 C. all-purpose flour (Dakota Maid flour comes from our wheat fields)
1 tsp. orange zest
11 oz. white chocolate Ghirardelli Chocolate Morsels (chopped)

Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper – or use non-stick Pampered Chef pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse Nilla Wafer cookies and pecans with sugar until fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.

Press crumbs into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom of the dish using the palm of your hand, or your fingers.

For the filling, beat cream cheese, and the fruit pizza dip, with sugar, eggs, orange zest using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer.

Beat until fluffy and smooth. Pour over cookie crust.

For the cookie dough, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg, almond extract and lemon zest and beat until combined. Add in baking powder, salt and flour, beating until fully blended. Fold in white chocolate chunks.

Scoop cookie dough by large spoonfuls onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Use a spatula to spread gently until covered.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. The center will still jiggle, and that’s groovy. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight).

Slice and serve COLD.

It’s so delicious.

From my farm to yours…

Make the best of your day. With what you have. Wherever you are.