Clementines are arguably one of the season’s cheeriest fruits – bright, juicy, sweet, and adding a dash of color to just about any table setting. Having a few clementines from Melissa’s Produce on hand, we wanted to make a bright winter dessert, one that would lighten up some of the heavier and darker offerings this time of year. And so these Clementine Gingersnap Cheesecake Bars were born.
It starts with a layer of gingersnaps. Then there’s a layer of orange-scented cheesecake. And then they’re topped off with a single segment of sweet clementine – the perfect finish to this holiday bite. (You didn’t know you liked the clementine gingersnap combination but now you love it!)
Clementine Gingersnap Cheesecake Bars
For the crust:
- 2 cups gingersnaps crushed (about one medium box of gingersnaps)
- 6 T. butter melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the cheesecake:
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature (2 8-ounce packages)
- Rind of two clementine oranges
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
For the topping:
- 3 clementine oranges peeled and sectioned
In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnaps, butter, and sugar. Press the crumb mixture firmly into a 9 x 13 baking pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until whipped and smooth. Add the orange rind, vanilla, and sugar, and continue beating. Finally add the eggs and beat until evenly mixed. Using a spatula, pour the batter into the prepared crust. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Then cover and chill the bars for at least 3 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the clementines: Break the peeled clementines into segments and set them out to "dry" at room temperature. The outer skin will become slightly dry and crackly while the inside will stay juicy. Once the cheesecake bars are chilled, cut into bite-sized pieces and top each piece with a clementine segment.
These recipe takes advantage of a fun little trick you can do with clementines. When you let the segments sit out for a few hours at room temperature, the skin firms up like a thin sugar coating, but when you take a bite the juiciness is all still intact. So make sure you give your clementine segments plenty of time to “cure” before you put them on top of your cheesecake.
Thank you, Melissa’s, for these beautiful clementines! Our holidays are just a little bit cheerier because of them.
P.S. Want some other cheerful seasonal dessert bars? Try these Sweet Dumpling Squash Bars.
Blogger disclosure: Melissa’s sent me clementines for review. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.