Thursday, February 6, 2014

Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bars

I am a big fan of making classics with a twist. I can't define what classic this recipe resembles because I feel it is a culmination of multiple desserts: oatmeal cookie, apple pie, and cheesecake. Regardless, the dessert is delicious so if you're looking to try something new or with a twist, look no further! This dessert as classified as a bar but requires more than your typical bar dessert. This recipe is essentially an oatmeal cookie with a sweetened cream cheese layer, an apple filling, topped with more oatmeal cookie. Irresistible sounding, I know!

You can choose to make your own oatmeal cookie batter and apple pie filling or to buy packaged or canned version. While I like a shortcut every once in awhile, I like to make as much as I can from scratch. I compromised in this recipe and only used canned apple pie filling, which I was skeptical to use - not as bad as I thought but would prefer to make my own. However, to make a dessert on a zip, I know I can count on this recipe!

Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bar
modified from Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Garden

Oatmeal cookie:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt (optional, but recommended)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal

Cream cheese filling:
2 packages (8 ounces) cream cheese, soften
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg

Apple pie filling:
1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cookie: 
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix butter in an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, dash of salt (optional), cinnamon until combined.
3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
4. Mix in flour and oats.
5. Lay half of the cookie mixture in baking pan and flatten on entire bottom surface of pan to create a crust. Bake 8-10 minutes.

For the cream cheese mixture and apple pie filling: 
1. While cookie is baking, using an electric mixer to combine cream cheese, sugar, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, and egg until well combined. 
2. When partially cookie base comes out of oven, pour cream cheese mixture evenly in pan.
3. Combine apple pie filling and cinnamon and pour mixture evenly on top of the cream cheese mixture.
4. Sprinkle pieces of the remaining cookie dough on top of apple pie filling. This will serve as a streusel or topping for the cookie bars.

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