caramel cheesecake bars
i couldn't get enough of caramel from the shf, apparently... and made these caramel cheesecake bars. they're adapted from the strawberry cheesecake bars from king arthur flour cookie companion.. the great part is that you can take whatever you have on hand and swirl it in to make whatever cheesecake bars you want. i've made these before too with some leftover raspberry sauce. this time i didn't put nuts in the crust as i was making them for a big group and wanted to avoid nut allergy problems. still delicious. i would probably choose to put the nuts in next time if i could though, it gives the crust a great texture and taste. anyhow, these bars are very simple to make.. much easier than an actual cheesecake.. and this is easier to serve, transport, and makes more servings, too!! :) i like serving these chilled, like cheesecake, but they are fine at room temperature.
Caramel Cheesecake Bars
Makes 24 bars
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 lb cream cheese
3/4 (5 1/4 ounces) cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
2 large eggs
caramel sundae sauce to swirl in (or you can use 1/4 cup jam)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
2. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and butter. Stir in the pecans, if using. Press mixture into bottom of pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until it's set. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 min. while you prepare the filling.
3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Gently beat in the eggs and vanilla. Spread the filling over the crust.
4. Squeeze lines of caramel sauce parallel to the 13inch side of the pan, about 3/4 inch apart. Use a knife to pull the caramel from side to side through the cream cheese at 1-inch intervals. (similarly, you can put the jam into a plastic bag and snip off the corner and pipe it onto the filling. warm the jam if it is too thick)
5. Bake the bars for 20 to 22 minutes, just until the filling is set. The middle should wobble slightly. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the filling to prevent cracking. Cool completely, then refrigerate until completely chilled and firm before cutting.