School has officially begun and we are headed into fall. I’m not going to lie – I’m looking forward to some cooler weather. But before we give up on summer completely, we should at least say a proper goodbye! I will certainly miss some of my favorite things – fresh fruit and beautiful, blooming flowers. So I thought what better way to see summer come to a close than with an ode to my summer favorites?
When I have people over, it really is all about the food. And even more about the desserts, since I have a relentless sweet tooth. One of the first things I knew I wanted to make were these No Bake Lemon Berry Cheesecake Bars. A graham cracker crust is topped with a creamy no-bake lemon cheesecake, whipped cream and fresh berries. It’s still pretty warm out, so any time you don’t have to use your oven in a plus. The only appliance you’ll need is the KitchenAid® 11-Cup Food Processor. Be sure to check out the full recipe at the bottom of this post.
Continuing with the fresh fruit theme, these Fruit Cheesecake Sugar Cookie Cups are so cute and easy to eat. The sugar cookie base is filled with a no-bake cheesecake then topped with an assortment of fresh fruit. So fun!
And every summer party should include a trifle, am I right? They are easy to put together and the layers look beautiful. You can’t go wrong. This Triple Berry Trifle is the perfect option. Look at all that fruit!
One of my favorite summertime drinks is a fruit-filled sangria and it makes regular appearances at our summer parties. It’s so refreshing in the heat and easy to make for a group.
For an alternative drink suggestion, using watermelon, here is a great recipe for Watermelon and Cucumber Summer Slushies.
And here are a few more great recipes using fresh summer fruit:
Now that we’ve got the fresh fruit covered, let’s talk about how to include flowers. I always love when flowers are just starting to bloom in spring. It just makes me happy. They are cheerful and lively, and every party table should always have them.
In keeping with a flower theme, these Rosette Sugar Cookies are such a simple, fun cookie to make. It’s your basic sugar cookie with some buttercream piped on. These babies were a hit and flew off the table.
And cupcakes? No party is complete without a cupcake. These are beautiful with buttercream piped flowers. Who could resist biting into something so pretty?
And while I’d love to say that all you need is dessert, some people do like to have other options. In this case, I went with grilled burgers, hot dogs and corn. Classics for summer!
Now that you have a rundown of all that you need for a great end of summer party, let’s talk about the specifics of making those No-Bake Lemon Berry Cheesecake Bars. They are delicious and you’ll definitely want to make sure they make it onto the menu.
To start, line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper that comes up over the sides. You’ll use the parchment paper later to lift the bars out of the pan. I also like to add a cardboard cake square to the bottom of the pan, but that’s optional. I find that the stiffness of it ensures that the bars don’t bend or unmold when lifted out of the pan.
Next, grab your KitchenAid® 11-Cup Food Processor. Toss your graham crackers in the bowl and crushed them up until you have about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.
Stir in the melted butter and press the crumbs into your cake pan in an even layer.
Combine your cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in the bowl of your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and beat until smooth. Fold in some homemade whipped cream, then add the mixture to your cake pan.
Spread cheesecake filling into an even layer in your pan, then set it in the refrigerator to firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Once bars are firm, use the parchment paper to lift them out of the pan and cut into bars.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries, then set the out for guests to devour!
So there you have it! I hope you enjoy the cheesecake bars and have a rockin’ end of summer party!
No-Bake Lemon Berry Cheesecake Bars
Makes 12-16 bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper that comes up over the sides. You’ll use the parchment paper later to lift the bars out of the pan. I also like to add a cardboard cake square to the bottom of the pan, but that’s optional. I find that the stiffness of it ensures that the bars don’t bend, or unmold, when lifted out of the pan.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake pan. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup of powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in the bowl of a Stand Mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Add remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold half of the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture and set the rest in the refrigerator for later. Spread cheesecake mixture evenly in cake pan.
Refrigerate cheesecake for at least 4 hours, or until firm.
Use the parchment paper on the sides to lift the bars out of the pan, then cut into squares. Use remaining whipped cream to top cheesecake bars, then add some fresh berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*