Looking for a more wholesome sweet? Try these Honey Lemon Cheesecake Bars, naturally sweetened with honey, and packed with sweet-tart lemon flavor.
A few years I did a Whole 30 when I went without sugar, grain, and a bunch of other foods I had previously thought I couldn’t live without. I discovered that as much as I love sweets, I don’t think that sweets take very good care of me. Sure, they taste good, but they make me tired.
Since then, I’ve tried different strategies to curb the sweets that my family eats. I’m nowhere close to arriving. Hello! I still make my famous Lemon Meringue Pie at least once a year.
But, I’m working on it. I surprise myself when I can satisfy that late-night craving with a bowl of yogurt and fruit instead of a heaping pile of ice cream. And I’m working on swapping processed sugars for unprocessed when we can, though reducing the sweet overall is my end-game.
These Honey Lemon Cheesecake Bars are a step in the right direction. While they do contain graham cracker crumbs, the filling is sweetened only with honey. I call that a win.
They have all the tasty awesomeness of cheesecake but in a much more realistic portion size. Serve the bars with fresh fruit to up the ante a bit and lean on Nature’s Candy instead of a pile of chocolate bars and caramel sauce. (Looking at you, Cheesecake Factory.)
How I make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:
- Track prices and shop the lowest store. This year I’ve paid more attention to which stores have the lowest prices. Where I live, ALDI and Costco have the best prices on lots of things we buy, so I try to buy them there if I can’t find a sale price elsewhere.
- Stock up on sales. Cream cheese, honey, and graham crackers are the high ticket items, so I watch for sales and stock up when it’s a good price.
Tools I use to make this recipe easy:
Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.
- stainless steel mixing bowl – I’m not sure you have too many of these.
- dual-sided silicone spatula/spoon – This is great for the cooking process as well as scraping every last bit out of the pan.
- 9×13 pan with lid – I love these.
Honey Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup honey plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
- 2 egg
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp lemon, zested
- Preheat the oven to 350 °.
- In a 9x13-inch pan, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1 tablespoon honey. Mix well and pat into the pan to form a crust.
- Bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
- Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the remaining 1/2 cup honey and beat until smooth.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Stir in the lemon juice, flour, and lemon zest.
- Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 35 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
- Chill before serving.
Originally published April 5, 2013. Updated August 22, 2017.