I think everyone around here pretty much knows that even though I love food, I don’t really cook. I bake, yes, but I stick to pretty simple things and only really commit if the final product is gonna be worth it. I mean, who wants to bake something mediocre?! Nobody, that’s who. So the folks at King Arthur Flour must have totally had my number when they created the new Essential Goodness mixes — they’re box mixes but, like, next level. This ain’t your standard chocolate cake in a box. There are so many fun recipes (hello, sour cream coffee cake? cinnamon sugar puff muffins?!) and you can jazz them up with your own spin on their basic mix. Here’s our take on their cheesecake bars!
- Essential Goodness Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bar Mix
- 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 2 eggs
- 6 large strawberries
Melt your butter and combine with the graham cracker crust mix until the crumbles are nice and even. Press into a greased, 8×8 baking pan. Bake the crust at 325 for about 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prep the rest of the ingredients. Slice up your strawberries and set aside. Open the package of filling mix and just take a second to get a whiff because that stuff smells so good. I actually made Ryan come in and smell it because it was so delicious. (Must be the whole, simple ingredients they use for the mixes. No corn syrup or any artificial flavors — this one has pure, real vanilla bean). But I digress! Mix the contents of the filling package with the cream cheese until soft. Stir in one egg at a time, just until the egg is blended.
Once your crust comes out of the oven, place a layer of your cut strawberries on the hot crust. Then pour your filling mix over the berries and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake again at 325 for about 35 minutes; you’ll have to keep an eye on it because when you add elements to the recipe (like the strawberries) baking times start to vary. It should be done when most of the filling layer is set but still has a little jiggle in the center.
Let cool for an hour at room temperature and then move to the fridge. Chill for at least three hours (overnight if you can!) before you cut into it.
I tell ya, I’ve never made anything remotely cheesecake-y before because I was scared it wouldn’t turn out, but these. are. bomb. We made a batch on a day when we had a whole mess of people working on our house for the remodel and the bars were gone in about 5 seconds flat when we started offering them around. Seal of approval right there. Another thing to love: King Arthur Flour donates the cost of a meal to Feeding America for every box mix they sell. I’m always so heartened to see companies I love working to make a difference and spread goodness.
So what kind of baker are you? Are you the I-don’t-know-how-to-turn-on-the-oven type, or the I-make-recipes-in-my-sleep-with-one-hand-tied-behind-my-back type? Somewhere in between? I’d love to know how you’d put your own spin on one of these mixes! xoxo
This post is sponsored by King Arthur Flour. All opinions are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!