Cheesecake Bites

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

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If you love cheesecake, but are hesitant to go after it in a big way, pursue it in a small way instead. These two-bite treats hit that spot perfectly, especially when adorned with a perfect, small, ripe strawberry heart.

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt½ cup (packed) light brown sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ cups cottage cheese

½ cup (half an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs, beaten

A handful or two of ripe strawberries, hulled and halved or sliced

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 325°F if using a glass pan). Have ready a 6 X 9 inch baking pan (ungreased) or the equivalent.
    2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the brown sugar, crumbling the sugar into the flour with your hands until uniformly distributed. Add the melted butter, and stir to thoroughly combine.  Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.
    3. Place the cottage cheese, cream cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and eggs in the bowl of a food processor, and buzz until completely smooth. Pour this mixture into the pan, spreading it into place.
    4. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top surface is firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely, then let it chill for at least two hours. (Chilling it longer is fine. If longer, cover tightly with plastic wrap.) Serve cold, cut into 1 ½-inch squares and topped with sliced or halved (or whole, tiny) strawberries
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