Friday, August 6, 2010

Lavender Cheesecake Bars



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I wanted to get this recipe to you while culinary lavender is still available in markets. It was given to me a few weeks ago by a lavender grower of Viennese extraction. Her dessert is as lovely as she is, and it speaks to the wonderful richness of the country in which she spent her childhood. Like most pastry from the area, this is barely sweet and the use of lavender is so subtle that only a truly discerning palate could identify its presence without some help. I was not able to identify the flavor the first time I had these bars. Everyone who samples them can detect an unidentifiable, but pleasant, flavor lurking in the background. When told what it has we all share an "ah-ha" moment. The only trick to cooking with lavender is discretion. A very little of it goes a long way, and too much of it will make your food inedible. The lavender taste in this recipe comes from a mildly flavored sugar and from a scant teaspoon of fresh buds that are added to the streusel topping. This is a very simple recipe. There is, however, a trap waiting for those who read directions just before they plan to bake. You need lavender sugar, and, while it's child's play to make, it takes about a week for the lavender to imbue the sugar. I use a ratio of two tablespoons of lavender per cup of sugar and blend them in my food processor to make a mildly flavored sugar that I store for a week before using. Here, as in most of my recipes, I toast the almonds before baking with them. Toasted nuts give baked goods a real flavor boost and these bars have a wonderful almond flavor. If your not watching calories you'll love these rich bars. Here's the recipe.

Lavender Cheesecake Bars
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Oregon lavender growers

Ingredients:
Crust
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped toasted almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
Topping
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup lavender sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lavender buds

Directions

1) To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine brown sugar, almonds, flour, salt and melted butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until crumbly. Reserve one cup for streusel topping. Press remainder of mixture into bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
2) To make filling: Beat cream cheese with lavender sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, lemon juice, milk and vanilla. Pour over prepared crust. Mix lavender buds with reserved streusel topping. Sprinkle topping over cream cheese filling. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack until pan is room temperature. Cut into 24 bars. Refrigerate. Yield: 2 dozen 1-1/2 x 3-inch bars.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Honey Lavender Ice Cream - Kitchen Fervor
Lavender Chiffon Cake with Lime Curd - Technicolor Kitchen
Lavender Strawberry Shortcake - Vegalicious Recipes
Honey Lavendar Panna Cotta - Food Memoirs
Strawberry Lavender Lemonade - Andrea Meyers
Lavender Creme Brule - SippitySup

71 comments:

Ginny said...

These look very good. At first glance, I thought it was a lemon bar. I believe it's the French who use lavender the most? Normally, this recipe might kind of scare someone, but your reassurances make me want to try it.

PranisKitchen said...

really the picture itself saying how dellicious these bars are..never tried lavender for any cooking i really like the smell and the beauty of the flower. love the smell..

bellini valli said...

I remember the photos of the gorgeous lavender fields Mary. I am sure these bars woere absolutely delicious.

My Little Space said...

The cheesecake bar sounds wonderful with some lavender in it. Lovely lovely! Hope you're enjoying your weekend.
Blessings, kristy
p/s your grandchildren are arriving on next week. Can't wait to see them, right! =o)

Jeannie said...

This is so scrumptious! I wish I have some lavender buds with me now!

jelena said...

discerning palate...I sometimes wonder is that a given or a skill that develops with time, since my husband can't detect most of the things I put in our food (I put in things he says he detests but he eats them with delight without knowing what is in the food) Lavander comes here only in bags to use in your closet, such a shame!

Pondside said...

These sound delicious. I like to make lavender pound cake, but I cheat....a local lavender farm puts the ingredients together.

PFx said...

Yum!
The simplicity just highlights the lavender nicely.
I think lavender to a dessert is the black truffle equivalent of savoury dish; without the hefty costs :)
Definitely would give this a try on a lazy-slouch-out-but-still-wannabe-sophisticated night. :)

Chele said...

I've never tried lavender as a flavour but this bar looks so good you may of tempted me to have a try!

Angie's Recipes said...

Lavender and cheese...a lovely combination!

A Year on the Grill said...

Mary, what a beautiful sounding dessert. and as usual, you took a difficult to photograph item and made it look spectacular... great post

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Mary, although I am watching my calories intake, I stil love to have this cheesecake bar, looks so inviting!

petite nyonya said...

The whiff of lavendar in this cheesecake sounds utterly lovely to me!

MaryMoh said...

What a beautiful bar! That first picture looks irresistibly good. I love lavender....very calming and soothing. Yet to try in bakes. Thanks very much for sharing. Hope you have a wonderful day. Mary

chriesi said...

Mmm these are wonderful! Have a nice weekend!

Ana Powell said...

Beautiful and delicious bar.
I positioned my left thumb my finger against your photo and it looks like I can grab your delightful lavender cheesecake bar.
Wishing you a great weekend ♥

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Mary,no way i can get fresh lavender here, so i can only see and enjoy your photo. have a great weekend ahead.

Alessandra said...

Mary, these are absolutely divine!

chamki said...

I wish i had lavender but maybe i can use lavender essential oil, so lovely the idea to make flavored sugar. Thanks Mary!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

These sound just wonderful. Have a good day. Diane

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
Amazing recipe. I love the ingredients and the lavender must give it a delicious twist!
Love,
Lia.

Julie said...

Mary: What beautiful lemon bars! I am always looking for recipes using lavender. I will be giving these a try!

3 hungry tummies said...

I should really attempt this over the weekend :)

Martha said...

I love cooking with lavender and lavender sugar (as well as vanilla sugar and rose geranium sugar) are staples in the Linderhof larder.

I love making sweets with herbs and will have to try these soon.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I've never been game to cook with lavender because my taste testers (aka my family/friends) think it would be too overpowering. Thank you for inspiring me to use it! Your bars look delectable; I'm loving the ingredients.

Allie and Pattie said...

these sound wonderful and I've printed this out. Lavendar is very difficult to find here and I've had to search out sources. It was never a problem in NY
xoxo Pattie

PeggyR said...

It looks wonderful! I will have to try these. Have to make the sugar first!

Recipe for Delicious said...

That look heavenly! I've never tried baking with lavender.

Sweet Southern Prep said...

You had me at cheesecake!

And I bet it melts in your mouth too! Great recipe!

Kat said...

These look wonderful. I have never tried lavender in baking. If you get a chance, please visit my blog as I am having a wonderful giveaway. Have a great weekend.
http://sweetkatskitchen.blogspot.com/

From the Kitchen said...

My dear Hungarian friend, who spent many years in Vienna as a journalist, made a sweet very similar to this. She, too, cautioned about the amount of lavender. Thanks for a delicious reminder of my treasured friend.

Best,
Bonnie

Adelina said...

looks delightful- never cooked with lavender but am sure the flavour is out of this world, well, lavender is!

lucy said...

woh!it' s a beautiful recipe with the touch particular the lavander and j'm very content to know your blog!

Jenn said...

Oh how I love cheesecake bars...well anything cheesecake actually. I also love the scent of lavender but have never cooked with it before. I think I might need to see if I can find some this weekend! I can only imagine how wonderful these taste!

Susi said...

What a lovely looking cheesecake bar. The addition of Lavender is very intriguing to me. I'm not sure if I can get my hands on any but I know my mom in Germany grows it in her garden, so I will give her this recipe which I'm sure she will love!

Michael Toa said...

The cheesecake bar looks wonderful. I quite enjoy the subtle scent of lavender. I had it in ice-cream before. It'll be interesting to try making it.
Have a great weekend Mary. Michael

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How heavenly! These look so light and perfect for a summer time meal! Makes my mouth water! ♥

Gloria said...

Mary I love lavender to cook! and these look georgeous and yummy, huggs and have a lovely day, x gloria

lostpastremembered said...

I guess everyone is in a lavender mood these days!!! Lovely recipe that I can't wait to make!

Sushma Mallya said...

looks awesome,lovely one...have a wonderful weekend mary,take care

Monet said...

What a stunning dessert! I love the creaminess of cheesecake paired with something as elegant and light as lavender. This looks gorgeous!

Suman Singh said...

WOW..what a beautiful and delicious looking dessert..love all those ingredients in it..mm...superb..thanks for sharing and have a great weekend..tk care!

Kamalika said...

the bar looks amazingly perfect ...and i bet it would be very tasty too...

The Blonde Duck said...

This would be perfect for a tea party.

Marsha's Mpressions said...

Wow! these look so good! Hope you're doing well, Mary.

Jennifurla said...

I have a party tomorrow, these would work great. Lovely

Mimi said...

It sounds delicious and lavender sugar would make a fabulous little gift.
Mimi

Katerina said...

Just like your previous recipe with lavender, this is a wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing Mary!

Anusce@Ciao-Chow said...

Cheesecake is my favorite dessert!
It looks amazing!!!!!

Quick question: could we request recipes?? I would love to see something made entirely with whole grain and no white sugar....possible??

Annie said...

Lovely and exquisite bars!!
Have a niuce weekend.

Claudia said...

You know, I grow lavender - for the scent and for luck (keep it by my doors) and once in a while will add it to tea but have never cooked with it. I love the delicacy of it. And lavender sugar sounds heavenly. Cheesecake and lavender - might just be the perfect match.

Molly @ A Bit O' Shine said...

Thank you for this! I've been wanting to cook with lavender for a couple of years now and never seem to get my act together. I see you have many other lavender recipes that I need to check out as well.

I went to a lavender fest last weekend up in Battle Ground, WA and tried out a lavender soda - the ladies with me weren't impressed but I loved it!

Chef Dennis said...

I have got to look for Lavender, I have never used it, and it sounds so good!!! Your cheesecake bars look oh so creamy and delicious...I bet it was one perfect bite....sigh

M. said...

I heart lavender so much.....so I'm really happy to see this recipe, I simply can't wait to try it!!!

Donna (Timeless Settings) said...

Oh these look amazing! Yum!

Donnami

Donna (Timeless Settings) said...

Oh these look amazing! Yum!

Donna

Raina said...

This sounds wonderful. I have never tried to cook with lavender but have heard it is very good.
Thanks for the tip about the time it takes to prepare the lavender sugar. I have a very bad habit of not reading recipes ahead of time:)

scrambledhenfruit said...

These look lovely. I've never baked with lavender, though I adore its scent. Is there a difference between culinary lavender and English lavender?(I think that's what I have.)

Stephanie Savors the Moment said...

Wow, those Lavender Cheescake bars look & sound delicious! Thanks for the heads up on making the sugar. I hate when you get home from the store excited to make a new recipe and realize something needs to be prepared, marinated or soaked for 24 hours or more. I bet that lavender sugar sure smells good though. Thanks!

Rue said...

Gods - this has to be the most perfect dessert!

I think I'm also going to make your lavender sugar for other things, like my morning Earl Grey tea, and for scones and such. How nice!

lavenderuses said...

Another great recipe. I love the thought of lavender in these cheesecake bars.
More ppl are becoming adventurous and using culinary lavender here in Australia. Has even featured as a main ingredient on cooking shows here!
Look forward to more delicious recipes and thanks again for sharing this one.
Patricia Perth Australia
www.lavenderuses.com
all things lavender

Debinhawaii said...

What a gorgeous bar--I love lavender and have some lavender sugar in my pantry. Perfect!

CaSaundraLeigh said...

It's always fun to get recipes from a variety of different people. I have never tried/or cooked anything with lavender in it!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Would love to try this...

Carmen

Mother Rimmy said...

I love the lightness of this cheesecake bar. The delicate hint of lavender is wonderful.

A Hopeful Heart said...

These sound fabulous....lavender and cheesecake together in one great dessert. This is a definite must-try!!

Thanks for sharing,
Patti

The Bitch Stopped Cooking said...

That's amazing! I can't wait to taste them. thank you for sharing this unique recipe!

The Words Crafter said...

I swear, my mouth started watering as I read this. I love lemon bars and these look even better.....

Chef E said...

There is a local girl here in Jerz that makes these, and they are addicting, five to a package...I have to stay away from opening a pack if we are out on a drive, or I find an excuse to eat two or three or, if any are left after hubby gets his share, lol

Yours look fantastically gorgeous...thank goodness I am out of range from either :)

Sophie said...

Waw!! Your Lavender sugar cheesecake bars look like the best indulgence aka dessert!

I also love making lavender sugar!!

Joanne said...

Those lemon cheesecake bars look refreshingly delightful. Such a perfect recipe for up coming summer picnics.

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