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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I've had about a kajillion different events that were potluck-type events lately, so I'm running all the way down my list of easy things to throw together. At the same time, I have a giant pile of apples that are begging to be used, so there's the short explanation for how Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars came to be.

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The longer explanation involves forgetting about said potluck-type thing until waaaaay later than intended and, well, at least I always have cream cheese in the fridge. Cream cheese can fix just about anything.

Truly. It's the most underappreciated magical ingredient there is.

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The potluck-type people declared that these tasted exactly like what would happen if you rolled cheesecake in caramel apples, so I'd say that's a win. It was really super good. So good that it was the first dessert to disappear at the potluck.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the butter in a 2-qt glass baking dish and place it in the oven until the butter melts. Pour in the graham cracker crumbs and first bit of granulated sugar, stir things up, and then press the crust into place. Toss the crust in the oven and allow it to bake while you work on the cheesecake.

2. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth then add the vanilla and eggs. Mix some more. By now, your crust should have been in the oven for about five minutes, so pull it out and pour the cheesecake on top.

3. Toss the chopped apples on top. Then pour the sweetened condensed milk on top, drizzling it so it ends up covering the whole thing. Sprinkle the pecans on top.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the center is no longer jiggly and the top is lightly browned. Set on a cooling rack, allowing to cool completely before serving. Store it in the refrigerator.

5. Hello, happiness.

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