Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Everyone has that one movie. The one that you wouldn't think of when people ask you about your favorite movie, but whenever it is on TV you can't help but watch it. Basically an almost favorite movie. For me that movie is Drop Dead Gorgeous. Drop Dead Gorgeous is a dark comedy starring Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, and Kirstie Alley about a high school beauty pageant in small town Minnesota that turns, well, deadly... It is awesome.  

I've loved that movie ever since it first came out and they did a "behind the scenes" article in Seventeen Magazine (yep, this movie came out in the late 90s). When I saw where it was filmed, knew I had to see it. It was love at first view. I loved the movie so much, in fact, that freshman year of college I made my roommate, who was from Texas, watch it so that she could experience its gloriousness (I figured since she put up a Texas flag in our dorm room, it was only fair). She wasn't as excited as I would have hoped. 

I admit, part of the reason I love the movie so much could be because it takes place in Minnesota, my home state. I noticed my fondness for it grew once I went to college out of state, and the Minnesota mannerisms and thick accents served to help my Minnesota homesickness. However, if you have seen it, don't assume that is how the entire state is like (for example, the place they say is the Mall of America is not, in fact, the Mall of America, and urban Minnesota, Northern Minnesota, and Southern Minnesota are all pretty different culturally). Despite that, however, this movie is still awesome, and I recommend that everyone see it.

You are probably wondering right now why I'm talking about this movie when this technically is a cooking blog. Well, last week, after going apple picking with my family, I came home with 2 large bags of apples that were just way too much for me and my husband. I decided to make some Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars for a girls night I was going to, along with another batch to bring to work, in order to use up some of those Haralson apples we had picked. I had made them last year for Thanksgiving, and were really delicious. However, for some reason, the entire time I was making them, a line from the movie kept popping up in my head: "And please... help yourself to some coffee and bars" (said in a thick, Minnesotan accent). Kirstie Alley said this at the beginning of the movie while her character was addressing the possible pageant contestant after they found out Gladys had taped over the beauty pageant introduction tape with "Days of Our Lives". It is a super random line from the movie, yet it remained in my head. 

Bars are a staple at any Minnesota get together, even being apart of many "You know you're from Minnesota when..." lists. I blame my Minnesota heritage for why I continuously bring them to girls nights and get togethers with our friends. These bars, however, are incredible and easy. Even if you aren't from Minnesota, you may become a bar convert.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
From The Girl Who Ate Everything
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
3/4 cups and 2 Tbs. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 chopped baking apples (I used Haralson, but you can also use Granny Smith)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 2 cups of the flour and 1/2 cup of the packed brown sugar, and cut in 1 cup of the butter until crumbly. You can do this with a pastry blender or 2 forks. 

Press into a 9 x 13 baking pan lined with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Beat the cream cheese with 3/4 cups of the sugar until smooth. If you have an electric mixer, do so at medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. Pour over the crust. 

Stir together the chopped apples, 2 Tbs. sugar, and the cinnamon and nutmeg. Top the cream cheese mixture with the apple mixture.

Combine the rest of the brown sugar and flour along with the cooking oats and 1/2 a cup of butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Once it is finished baking, drizzle the caramel topping on top. Let cool, and then refrigerate until you are ready to serve. 


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