Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Cheesecake Bars

Christmas Cheesecake Bars
Dorcas Annette Walker

As a minister’s wife a major part of Christmas holidays has always been taken up directing Christmas programs. I quickly discovered that no matter how well you plan and practice for perfection it is the children themselves that give your Christmas program its unique twist, often at unexpected moments. I’ve seen small sheep walking around on two legs instead of four, being more interested in yanking off their headdress than baaing like sheep, and wise men appearing in all their glory with gifts for baby Jesus minus their crowns. One Christmas program a fight broke out in the middle of recitations when a boy standing in line decided he had waited long enough and without warning marched up to the mike and wrestled with the boy trying to say his piece demanding, “Move over! It’s my turn now.”

My first introduction to Christmas programs going in a different direction than planned was in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since the small church only had one switch to control all the lights, one Christmas I put candles everywhere (including along the altar) in order to give a candlelit program. All went well until the children lined up in front of the altar started singing, “Away in a Manger”. One wiggly little girl kept moving around until suddenly in the midst of our song she screamed out, “Help me, I’m on fire!” I quickly checked her- she had only felt the heat of the candle and panicked- while trying to keep the song going. My husband jumped up and ran over to investigate while “Away in a Manger” quickly faded away as all the kids crowded around the girl yelling, “Let me see! Where is she burnt? Is she really on fire?” Yet despite all the crazy things that can go wrong during a Christmas program, unfailingly the wonder of the angels appearing to shepherds on a hillside always shines through.

Today my daughter is grown and directs Christmas programs herself. Last Sunday we went out to Nashville to see her church program. I was enchanted to see one squirmy little girl’s white choir top with a gold bow become twisted until it looked like a rumpled bib while a couple of small boys, minus their choir tops, did somersaults on the platform as the older children tried to say their pieces- I told my daughter afterwards that the rowdy boys would make perfect sheep. It wasn’t until the first sound of the bells being played by the children with Christmas music that everyone’s attention was arrested. As the sound of bells rang out around the manger, once again the spirit of Christmas came alive to celebrate the miracle of a tiny babe born in a stable.

Christmas Cheesecake Bars

1 pkg graham crackers crumbled
1 stick margarine melted
3 tb sugar
3 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1 c yogurt
1 tb self-rising flour
1 tsp vanilla

Mix crackers, margarine, and 3 tb sugar together. Press firmly in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake for 5 minute at 350º. Meanwhile beat together until smooth all the other ingredients adding the eggs last and pour onto the top of the baked crust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the center is almost set. Let cool, refrigerate, and chill thoroughly. Cut into squares and decorate with decorating gels and sprinkles. Makes 18 bars!

Weekly tip: For a perfect cheesecake: soften cream cheese to room temperature before beating, don’t overbeat the eggs- will cause falling, test for doneness by gently shaking the cheesecake –don’t use a knife or toothpick- as over baking causes cracks across the top, and to cut use a sharp knife dipped in warm water!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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