Cherry Cheesecake Bars

From www.foodfanatic.com, by Kristan Roland
Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Cherry Cheesecake Bars Photo

I have recently discovered that there is nothing more terrifying than a sleep deprived toddler. Literally nothing.

My normally calm, agreeable daughter turns into a demon when she's running on very little sleep. Like she came straight out of The Exorcist - screaming, red faced, with snot streaming from her nose. Seeing her like that truly got me to wondering if the girl from The Exorcist movie simply needed something warm to drink and a nice, long nap.

When I'm sleep deprived, I definitely feel like screaming and crying and maybe laying on the floor, but the part of my brain that is reasonable reminds me of proprieties and social norms. Toddlers lack this important part of the brain.

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Apparently that comes much later, when the parents have already been worn down to exhausted shells of who they once were, numbed by endless repetitions of the same cartoon and large jelly jars  full of cheap wine.

Cherry Cheesecake Bars Picture

Just kidding about the wine. But kind of not.

When Lucy is tired, she becomes very particular. We all walk around on eggshells. I know that you aren't supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but I assure you that sometimes there is no other way. You want three packages of fruit snacks, a coffee mug full of Gatorade and a hamburger bun for breakfast? Okay ma'am…just let me know if you'd like the bun toasted.

My husband is all, "what do you MEAN just do what she says? She's not the boss" and I'm like, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND – right now is just about SURVIVAL. I'M JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE."

There are times for life lessons and there are times for just giving them the darn hamburger bun while avoiding direct eye contact and setting it down very carefully on their favorite plate. Trust me on this.

Cherry Cheesecake Bars Image

Once you get all of that out of the way, you fill a jelly jar glass with your favorite beverage (if that happens to be wine, I mean…I'm not judging), you grab a couple of these cherry cheesecake bars (or a cupcake… or a brownie), and you hide in the closet with an issue of US Weekly.

What? There's news in there. Mostly news. About famous people. Whatever.

These bars whip up in a snap and have a perfectly tart and creamy center. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix, 18.25 ounces
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 21 ounce can cherry pie filling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cake mix, melted butter, and eggs. Spread HALF of the batter carefully in the bottom of your prepared pan.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Spread over cake batter in pan.
  4. Top with pie filling, spreading to edges.
  5. Spoon remaining batter evenly over the tops of the bars, covering as much as the surface as possible.
  6. Bake bars for roughly 25-30 minutes, until tops are golden.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely, then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  8. Once bars have chilled, remove foil and cut into squares.

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