Cherry Cheesecake Bars
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs about 10 full sheets
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 5-ounce bag dried cherries
- 1 cup cherry juice
- 1 8-ounce block cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9- x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, brown sugar and a pinch of salt until combined.
- Press mixture evenly over bottom of lined baking pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes and remove from oven; keep oven set to 325 degrees F.
- Combine cherries and juice in a medium-size bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Let stand 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, place cream cheese and sugar in bowl of mixer and beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix. Add sour cream and salt and mix until smooth, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over baked crust. Remove cherries from juice using a slotted spoon and saving juice; sprinkle cherries evenly over cream cheese mixture.
- Stir cornstarch into reserved juice in bowl; microwave on HIGH 1 additional minute to thicken. Gently spoon about half of thickened sauce over top of bars; carefully use a knife to make a swirl pattern over top of bars. (Reserve any remaining cherry sauce to serve with bars on the side or for another use.) Sprinkle top of bars with almonds.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until center is set. Let cool at room temperature before placing in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill. Store in refrigerator.