Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vacation's over - Part II

Unlike the washing machine at home, the gang at the office was pretty happy to see me today*.

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
Discovered by way of A Southern Grace, these are apparently (and justifiably) a hugely popular recipe on the web at the moment. The sopapilla part refers to the buttery, cinnamon-crusted, slightly crunchy top, and the cheesecake part is, well, the cheesecake part. Pillsbury has a version on their site, and they are also here, here and here. They were also on the counter next to the coffee machine at work.

For about 5 minutes.

My version adds an egg (to enhance the texture of the cheesecake layer) and some lemon juice (to cut the sweetness just a little).  Even with these additions, this recipe is just crazy easy. Allowing the pan to cool is key to getting clean cut bars, so resist the temptation to eat them right away.

2 8 oz. cans crescent roll dough
20 oz. (2 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2 c. sugar, divided
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional)
1 generous tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

Open up one of the cans of crescent rolls, and use the dough to line the bottom of a 13x9 pan.  Press gently to seal up the seams, and to ensure that the pan is evenly covered.  Set aside.

Combine cream cheese, egg and 1 1/2 c. of sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt, and blend again until well combined.  Spread this mixture evenly over the dough in the prepared pan.

Unroll the remaining package of crescent rolls, and carefully place that layer on top of the cream cheese mixture. Try to smooth out the seams, but that's less important on this top layer than it is on the bottom.

Here's where things just go off the rails, decadence-wise. Pour the melted butter all over the top of the bars. Yep, all of it. Dear lord.

Using a spoon, mix remaining 1/2 c. sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the top of the melted butter. It'll still look like a lake of butter, just with cinnamon sugar in the lake, too.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until center is set and the top is gloriously crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing and serving. Even better, refrigerate for a few hours after that, and then serve.

* I like to think it wasn't just the baked goods.  I processed a ton of their expense reports, too.

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