Cooking with tea is a fun way to enhance flavors and give traditional recipes a unique makeover. My lemon cheesecake bars paired perfectly with Chai Diaries Blood Orange tea. The loose leaf tea is infused with hibiscus, orange peel, apple and rose petals. When baked the colors bloom and enhance the citrus notes of the original recipe.
Bars like these need a nice moist crust. One that is filled with flavor and texture but does not compete with the rich and creamy filling. I enlisted the help of the Guiltless Baker who shares my enthusiasm for creating healthier versions of decadent sweets.
Crust (curtsy of Guiltless Baker)
1 ¼ cup almond flour
1 ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp finely ground Chai Diaries blood orange tea
¼ cup coconut oil
2-3 tbsp lavender honey depending on desired sweetness (Taste Artisan Market)
2 8oz bars light cream cheese softened
¼ cup white sugar + 3 tbsp
1/3 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lavender honey (Taste Artisan Market)
½ cup egg beaters or 2 large eggs
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond milk
¼ cup lemon juice + 3 tbsp
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp finely ground Chai Dairies blood orange tea
·Preheat oven to 325 degrees, spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
·Combine all the crust ingredients into a food processor and blend till mixture resembles moist cookie crumbs.
·Add crumbs to pan and press down till covering the bottom evenly.
·Bake for 10-12 minutes till lightly browned and let cool before adding the filling.
·To avoid a cracked cheesecake you can bake the cheesecake bars in a water bath. I’ve included a how-to from Diana’s Desserts: http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/bakingtips.cheesecakes/cheesecakes.cfm. Also make sure to spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray up the sides. A well-greased pan helps the cake release from the sides and not crack in the middle.
·Feel free to experiment with different teas like earl grey or lavender.