I love the holidays for so many reasons. Time spent with family and friends, parties with festive food and cocktails, and of course, holiday baking. Cookies are always a crowd pleaser and pies are a must after any holiday dinner. But today I’m breaking with those traditional foods and going with something that’s tradition in our family. Cheesecake.
Each Christmas, my mother-in-law makes the most phenomenal tall, smooth, creamy cheesecake encircled by ladyfingers and topped with decadent sweet, bright red, syrupy cherries. Cheesecake is one of my all-time favorite desserts but growing it was usually something that made an appearance at a birthday or after entertaining on at non-holiday dinner. I love my mother-in-law’s cheesecake and man, I think she should make it more than once a year. But then, perhaps it wouldn’t be as much of a special treat if I didn’t have to wait for it all year-long.
With that in mind, I decided to make cheesecake bars for an upcoming holiday baking event. Smooth, creamy cheesecake filling sits atop a sugar cookie crust but then I took it a step further. Remembering how much I enjoy fruit on top of my mother-in-law’s divine cheesecake, I looked in my crisper to see what fruits we had on had. I was hoping for raspberries but despite having bought some just the day before, Maddy and Molly had gobbled them up so my attention turned to the ginger gold apples in the drawer.
My ginger apple upside down squares were amazing thanks to those beauties. For these cheesecake bars I cooked the apples with a bit of sugar and cinnamon just until they were tender and a bit syrupy. Those fragrant apples quickly became the perfect fruit for swirling through these decadent bars which are perfect for easy holiday entertaining.
Want even more holiday baking ideas? On Saturday December 14th, Krusteaz and Weelicious blogger and cookbook author, Catherine McCord will be hosting a virtual holiday baking event taking place from 1-3pm EST on the Krusteaz Site. Catherine will be baking her favorite Krusteaz creations live from her kitchen, sharing recipes, tips and holiday gifting ideas featuring homemade goodies. I think it’s going to be such a great excuse to invite some friends over and host a baking party. You should do the same! Then tune into the Krusteaz Twitter Feed where you can get tips, ask questions, share ideas and get into the holiday spirit. Feel free to share photos or videos of your own baking party on the Krusteaz Facebook Page! The hashtag for this event is #KrusteazHolidays.
Now, how about something to get you inspired for holiday baking? Today I’m giving you 2 coupons for FREE Krusteaz mixes, 1 full size box of Krusteaz Light & Fluffy Pancake mix along with a jar of delicious holiday mix-ins perfect for layering into a mason jar as a unique, festive holiday gift or just for jazzing up your holiday breakfast. Either way, this is delicious giveaway for you!
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Smooth creamy cheesecake bars swirled with tender cinnamon-kissed apples atop a sugar cookie crust.
- 1 apple, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash of salt
- 1 (15.5 ounces) Krusteaz Sugar Cookie Mix
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine 1/4 cup water, apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a simmer. Cook until apples are tender and mixture becomes syrupy. Set aside and cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon combine cookie mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 whole egg until evenly moistened and becomes a cohesive ball. Transfer cookie dough to baking dish and press evenly over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared baking dish.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together mascarpone, cream cheese, sour cream, granulated sugar, remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract, remaining whole egg and egg yolks until smooth.
- Scrape batter over cookie crust and spread evenly. Dollop apple mixture over top of cheesecake batter then swirl decoratively using the tip of a knife.
- Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes until just set in the center but still has a little jiggle. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Cool in baking dish on cooling rack for 1 hour then cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares and serve.
Disclaimer: I was provided with baking mixes and coupons courtesy of Krusteaz but received no monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are my own.