Improv Cooking Challenge: Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Bars

.  These are legit.

Too legit to quit.

Ha, just kidding.  About the second part.  Not about how scrumptious these [thick] fruity bars turned out.  And boy [or girl], are they thick, uber creamy, and strawberry banana fruity.  Very reminiscent of a banana split...particularly one from Dairy Queen.  Not that I would know though ☺

But I must give credit where credit is due.  First, a shout out goes to Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for choosing the wonderful combination of strawberries and cream for May's ICC ingredients.  Second, I must thank Bakers Royale for coming up with a recipe that I could in no way resist [no matter how hard I tried...or didn't].

So as you can tell, I had a lot of fun with the ICC ingredients this month.  I mean, who wouldn't?  And the major plus about this go around was that I got to include bananas!  WITH STRAWBERRIES!  If you know me at all, you would know that strawberry banana used to [or still is] one of my favorite combinations.  I vividly remember buying Strawberry Banana smoothies from Orange Julius every time I stepped inside the Mall of America.  Now that I think about, maybe I only went 'shopping' so I could get my usual smoothie.  Yes, I would do that.

And like I said, these bars are a strawberry banana fiesta.  The cheesecake itself is packed with a strawberry banana pureed mixture as well as hunks of fresh bananas and strawberries!  GAH!  Oh, and the cheesecake is sandwiched between a thick traditional graham cracker crust and a layer of sugary-buttery streusel.  Hello, heaven.

So if you're feeling that Spring mood, and I'm betting those local farmer markets will be rolling out the strawberries soon, then I highly recommend you try these bars out.  Actually, I demand it .

My Notes:
  • According to Bakers Royale, the addition of the pureed banana is the key to making these bars extra creamy.  And I'll admit, these bars are creamy deliciousness.  
  • Also like Bakers Royale, I added chunks of strawberries AND bananas throughout the cheesecake before baking.  However, feel free to skip this step.  But I wouldn't recommend that.
  • These are best cold, so keep them refrigerated until you're ready to eat.  Which may be all of the time...

Adapted from Bakers Royale

1-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:
6 oz. strawberries (about 1 c. whole strawberries)
4 oz. banana (about 1 banana)
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
Additional strawberries and 1/2 banana, chopped (optional)

3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter

  1. Heat oven to 350F.  Line 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang.  For the crust, place graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl and toss to combine.  Add in melted butter and mix to combine.  Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.  Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake.
  2. For cheesecake, place strawberries and banana in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed; set aside.  
  3. Place cream cheese in the bowl of standing mixer and beat until smooth.  Add sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until fully combined and smooth.  Add in pureed strawberry mixture and mix to combine.  Add flour and mix to combine.
  4. Pour mixture over crust.  If desired, place chopped strawberries and banana throughout the cheesecake and gently press in.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, for streusel, place flour, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and using a pastry blender or a fork, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles crumbled wet sand.  Set aside.
  6. Once cheesecake is done baking, remove from oven and sprinkle over streusel.  Bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let bars cool completely before cutting.
Yield: 16 bars

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  1. Yum, those look so yummy. I want that crust!

  2. Sounds SO good!! I love strawberry banana too.

  3. I am loving the cinnamon streusel on top. What a great dessert (and snack, and maybe breakfast....)

  4. Jess, these bars look awesome! Perfect for summer. If you are a Banana and Strawberry fan check out my link for Banana Split Bunt Cake.

  5. What delicious looking strawberry banana cheesecake bars! Cheesecake and strawberries are two of my very favourite dessert ingredients... the bananas are a fantastic addition as well! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  6. those look wonderful. love how theres such a yummy crunch!

  7. Ditto - all the previous comments. You have a winner.

  8. Oh yum!!! Wow these sound good. Love your spin on this month's ingredients.

  9. Ditto and ditto. Love everything about this recipe.

  10. this sounds and looks wonderful!!! what a treat!

  11. gotta try these, pinned.

  12. These bars look sooooooooooooooo delicious
    Beautiful photos!

  13. Hi,

    I’ve started My Sweet Party, where I every month host a party with a theme (MAY theme is CHOCOLATE). The party is ongoing the entire duration of the month and then I will choose my top three favourites and feture those blogs. I would LOVE you to join My Sweet Party!



  14. "Cheesecake" was all we needed to read!! These look so good! Thanks for sharing. We are so glad you came to another week of our fun "Strut Your Stuff Saturday". Please join us again! -The Sisters

  15. These look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  16. These look delicious! Seriously wish I had a piece of this to have with my coffee this morning!

  17. I made this two days ago and it was really good, thanks for sharing, I have pictures to


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