Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars…creamy cheesecake, seasonal rhubarb, sweet blueberries and tart lemon flavor. This rhubarb dessert makes the perfect spring or summer treat!
The lemon and fruit flavor in contrast with the cream cheese filling and buttery crust makes these Blueberry Cream Cheese Bars fresh tasting and decadent!
There’s nothing like fresh, indulgent summer desserts. This Lime Slice also falls into the category of fresh and rich as its made with a tangy lime filling and buttery shortbread crust! These Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars are also a must make cheesecake bar recipe!
While this is my first recipe with rhubarb, it’s not my first blueberry recipe! If you love blueberry desserts, these Blueberry Blondies are a must try treat!
These Blueberry Rhubarb Bars Are:
- Seasonal: I bake with fruit year round, but it’s definitely the best feeling to bake with it when it’s in season! Whether you have a rhubarb patch in your yard or pick it up at the store or local market, the seasonality of rhubarb makes it an extra special ingredient.
- Light and Creamy: The cream cheese filling is mixed before it bakes and gives it a light and creamy texture.
- Fruity: I use a combination of rhubarb and blueberries. You can certainly make them all rhubarb or all blueberry (or even raspberrry).
- Easy: These bars are super simple to whip up!
- All Homemade: No shortcuts needed and all homemade!
The Three Parts of these Bars
- Walnut Graham Cracker Crust: This graham cracker crust is as easy to make as the classic graham cracker crust in my Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars. The only difference is we’re adding ground walnuts to the mixture. The ingredients are simply mixed together in the food processor then pressed into a pan. It’s slightly nutty, buttery, and thick and is the perfect base for the cream cheese filling. If you have a nut allergy or wish to leave out walnuts, you can follow the crust recipe from Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars.
- Fruity Cream Cheese Filling: This filling is made with whipped cream cheese flavored with vanilla extract and lemon and studded with both rhubarb and blueberries!
- Crumble Topping: The crumble topping takes only mintues to mix together and is effortlessly tossed on top of the cream cheese layer. It’s sweet and buttery and makes these bars a definite comfort food! This crumble is optional and these bars are delicious with or without it!
About this Blueberry and Rhubarb Combination
My mom always made my great grandmother’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie when we were kids. If you’ve never baked with rhubarb before, I recommend reading this interesting article on how to choose rhubarb by Taste of Home.
I still think of strawberry as the ultimate baking companion for rhubarb. For these bars, I wanted to try something different and decided to go with blueberries.
Like strawberries, blueberries add a bright, juicy taste! I just love them together. If you prefer, you can definitely use all rhubarb or substitute raspberries or strawberries depending on what you have or prefer.
Ingredients for Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
Ingredients for the Graham Cracker Walnut Crust:
- Unsalted Butter: I almost always use unsalted butter when I since the amount of salt can vary depending on the brand of butter. Using unsalted butter helps prevent us from adding to much salt.
- Graham Crackers: It’s best to use a food processor to process these since we’ll need them finely crushed.
- Walnuts: Walnuts add a bit of nutty flavor. They can be used as is or you can toast them ahead of time to bring out even more flavor.
- Granulated Sugar. We’ll use a small amount of sugar to sweeten up the crust.
- Salt. Salt helps to balance out the sweetness and improves on the flavor overall.
Ingredients for Cheesecake Filling:
- Cream Cheese: The most important thing about the cream cheese is to make sure it’s fully come to room temperature before using it. I like to take my cream cheese out of the refrigerator four hours before I need it. Room temerature cream cheese will help prevent lumps in the cheesecake. Make sure to use blocks of cream cheese as opposed to the whipped tubs.
- Honey: I like to substitute some of the granulated sugar for honey for the filling. It adds a slight honey taste and it’s a healthier natural sweetener.
- Granulated Sugar: This will add flavor and sweetness to the cheesecake bars.
- Eggs: It will be easier to incorporate the eggs into the batter if they are at room temperature. Take the eggs out of the fridge before you make this recipe. If you forget to do this, set the cold eggs in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temperature just before baking.
- Vanilla Extract: The filling has more of a lemon flavor, but vanilla is a must in desserts.
- Rhubarb: I made these bars several times. I settled on roasting the rhubarb to ensure that it gets soft when baking. If you don’t mind that slightly crunchy bite, skip the roasting step.
- Blueberries: I prefer using fresh berries here, but frozen works too. Don’t thaw the berries before using them.
Ingredients for the Crumble Topping:
- Brown Sugar
- Melted Butter
How to Make Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
Making the Easy Walnut Graham Cracker Crust
- Pulse the graham crackers, walnuts, sugar and pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until they’re the consistency of bread crumbs. With the food processor running, slowly pour in melted butter and pulse til combined.
- Press the crust evenly in the bottom of an 8 by 8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the crust at 325 F for 12 minutes then remove to let cool.
Toasting the Walnuts
If you like, you can toast the walnuts before making the crust. Toasting the nuts brings out more of a nutty, deep flavor and only takes a few minutes. Check out this article on How to Toast Almonds and Other Nuts in the Oven by The Kitchn.
How to Make the Cream Cheese Filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on low until fully combined and smooth. Avoid beating the mixture at a high speed since that would add too much air into it. Mix in the eggs one at a time followed by the lemon zest and juice, honey and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in the chopped rhubarb and blueberries.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled prepared crust then top the fruit. Sprinkle the crumble evenly overtop.
- Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are set. Remove them from the oven while the middle is still pretty jiggly. The middle will firm up as it cools.
- Let the bars cool in the pan at room temperature for at least an hour then put them in the fridge to finish cooling. Leave them to cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions about Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
When you’re ready to enjoy these Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars, run a large, sharp knife under hot water and wipe it dry. Slice the bars into the sizes you want and make sure to wipe the knife clean in between slices. To make sure the bars are cleanly cut, I like to dip my knife in hot water and wipe it clean in between each cut.
To know when your cheesecake bars are set, bake them until the filling is set but still a little jiggly in the center. You can test this by holding the pan with oven mits and very gently shaking the pan from side to side.
Since these bars have a lot of cream cheese in them, they should be refrigerated. Store the cheesecake bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
These Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars makes the perfect spring or summer dessert! The thick, nutty crust, creamy fruit filling and buttery crumble makes for the most delicious combination of flavors and textures.Print
These Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars makes the perfect spring or summer dessert! The thick, nutty crust, creamy fruit filling and buttery crumble makes for the most delicious combination of flavors and textures.
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING (OPTIONAL)
- 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed
FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup walnuts (natural or toasted and cooled)*
- pinch of salt
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- juice of 1 medium lemon*
- zest of 2 medium lemons**
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup rhubarb, diced (into 1/2 inch or slighly smaller than 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed if frozen)
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING (OPTIONAL)
- In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour and brown sugar. Use a pastry cutter, two forks or your fingers to cut the cold butter into the flour and sugar mixture until it forms small pebble sized crumbs. Some can be large and some smaller. Place in the fridge to chill until needed.
FOR THE CRUST
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter or spray then line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper. Leave some excess parchment paper hanging over two sides to make it easier to remove the bars once baked and cooled.
- Add the graham crackers, walnuts, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until mixture resembles the size of bread crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until combined.
- Use your fingers or the bottom of a one cup measuring cup to press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 8-9 minutes til just lightly toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
FOR THE FILLING
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on low until fully combined and smooth. Avoid beating the mixture at a high speed since that would add too much air into it. Mix in the eggs one at a time followed by the lemon zest and juice, honey and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in the chopped rhubarb and blueberries. Spoon the mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the crumble evenly overtop.
- Bake at 325 F for 35-40 minutes until the topping is lightly browned and the middle is still just a little bit jiggly when you lightly shake it. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes then place on a towel in the fridge uncovered to cool for at least 4 hours.
*For a nut-free crust, use the graham cracker crust recipe found in my Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
**1 medium-size lemon= about 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 2 -3 tablespoons lemon juice.
***For a slightly less lemon flavor, use the zest of one and a half lemons instead of the zest of two.
Keywords: rhubarb, blueberries, cream cheese, lemon, bars, cheesecake, graham cracker crust, walnuts