When I first set out to make American Flag cheesecake bars, I'll have to admit -- I wasn't cheesecake's biggest fan. HOWEVER, these cheesecake bars turned out light and not overly "cheesecake", but with a good cake:crust ratio.
1-1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs
7 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
12 oz creamcheese
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup strawberry jam (save yourself the trouble and make sure it's smooth)
(not a whole lot of) blueberries
Beginning with the crust...
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. The recipe calls for a 9 x 9 pan. Good luck finding that. I wound up taking a 9 x 12 aluminum tray, cutting it, overlapping the pan to make a square and stappling it to the 9 x 9 size. This might be an unnecessary amount of effort -- but I wasn't willing to risk the beautiful ratio that is the cheesecake bar. :) However you decide to concoct a similar size dish, line with aluminum foil and grease the foil!
In a bowl, stir the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar with a fork until blended. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Then allow crust to cool.
And then the filling...
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese at a medium speed until blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla, just until blended. Pour filling over crust and bake 40-45 minutes until golden.
Chill until ready to serve.
Play with your food!
I avoided having to heat and strain jam by utilizing a smooth jam (Smuckers did the trick!) Hopefully, you've done yourself this same favor... otherwise, you'll have to heat jam until liquid, strain it, and then allow it to cool. The cooling is essential because you the piping of the jam would be more like pouring with the jam in its heated, liquid state. I say, skip the liquid state all together -- smooth jam = no heating!
Once the cheesecake is cold, lift the foil out of cakepan, and place on a cutting board. Peel away foil and cut the cake into 12 pieces.
Place blueberries in the top left corner (I used 4, but 6 is also acceptable). Snip a small hole in the corner of a plastic bag, and pipe jam in stripe around berries to create your patriotic masterpieces!