It's time for Week 2 of the Christmas Cookies! I can't wait to see what everyone else has in store this week. I chose to make Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars from my Betty Crocker Fall Baking 2009 book. You can also find it here.
You need to make these...today! And for every fall gathering that you may possibly have on your calendar. Seriously...you won't regret it. I can't guarantee that these bars will last past the first few hours! They remind me of my favorite Cheesecake Factory cheesecake flavor: Dutch Apple Caramel Struesel. Mmm...now I can have something similar at home anytime I want. So let's get started:
Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars
1 pouch oatmeal cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker brand)
1/2 cup cold butter
2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can apple pie filling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Place cookie mix in large bowl, cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs (with pastry blender or pulling 2 knives through mixture in opposite direction). Reserve 1&1/2 cups crumb mixture, press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars.
I don't own a pastry blender (if I did, it would look like this in Blue Willow or Buttercup...hint, hint) so I had to resort to the two knives method which was not fun! I must admit that I gave up on that method and crumbled it with my hands! Much faster. Also, the original recipe called for walnuts, but I happened to have pecans in the freezer so I used those. They didn't really do a lot for the bars in my opinion. I think you need a lot more of them to get a good pecan flavor, otherwise I would just leave them off next time.
They were a winner all the way around the table tonight. C said they might be one of the best things I've made lately. He has already flipped through this book and marked a few for the fall cooking lineup. I can't wait to try the rest of them. Little Man kept saying more, more! I think we are creating a miniature cookie monster...like father, like son!
I hope your family loves it as much as mine does!
Week 2 Twelve Weeks of Christmas: