Friday, December 2, 2016

Cherry Cheese Cake Dessert With Pretzel Crust

I make this dessert a lot around the holidays, one it's easy and two everyone requests it.  During the holidays we have enough running around to do and admittedly, I am no different.  I start  making Cookies, Quick Breads, Candy and other food gifts the first week of December.  The week after Thanksgiving, I start taking out all of my decorations and then go on the hunt with my family for the perfect tree at our local Christmas Tree Farms.  I have several artificial trees that I use as well, I am a big kid at heart and Christmas is my favorite holiday, my house is decorated top to bottom inside and out and every room is festive, yes... I did say every, including both bathrooms.  My kids tease me and say they go blind with all of the Christmas lights that are on.  My oldest daughter Nicole comes to visit wearing sun glasses, she's too funny.  The Christmas Music is also playing, especially when I am baking and or cooking. Off come the shoes, on goes the music and the fireplaces are lit. I love having the kids bake with me, although I am saddened that they are all grown now and we don't bake as much as we use to.  I set aside weekends so my two grand children can come here and bake with me. My two adorable grand babies Annalise 13-years old and Caleb 4-yrs old helping me in the kitchen last year.  Caleb's favorite thing is licking the spatula, so I have to keep several clean ones on hand.

What You Will Need:
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Stand or Hand Mixer, or Whisk
Baking Dish 8"x11"
Medium Bowl
Rolling Pin
Large Plastic Zip Lock Bag (1-Gallon Size)

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Filling:
2  8-Ounce Packages Cream Cheese
3/4-Cup Sugar
2-Large Eggs
1-Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
21-Ounce Cherry Pie Filling *I used my home made filling, but store bought is fine*

Pretzel Crust:
*If you don't like Pretzels you can substitute them with your choice of crushed cookies or graham crackers.*  I find the Pretzels give it a nice salty and sweet taste.
1- Large Bag of Pretzels any shape is fine.  *You need at least enough for 2 1/2-Cups.*
1-Cup Butter Softened
4-Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar. *If you use dark it gives it a deeper molasses flavor, light gives you less.*

Pretzel Crust Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-Degrees Fahrenheit.
Put half of the Pretzels in the Zip Lock Bag, securely close the bag.  Lay the bag on a flat surface and crush with a rolling pin until they look like grains of sand.  Some small pieces are fine.  Now transfer Pretzel Crumbs into the Medium Bowl.  Repeat this process with the remainder of the Pretzels. Add the Melted Butter and Brown Sugar into the Pretzel Crumbs. Mix well with a Spatula until all are combined.  Turn the mixture out into the Baking Dish, spread the mixture with the Spatula making sure to completely cover the bottom of the dish.  Now press the mixture evenly with your hands.  Put baking dish in the oven for 10-minutes.  Put on your Oven Mitts and take the dish out, placing it onto a heat resistant flat surface.

**Change the temperature of the oven to 375-Degrees Fahrenheit**

Cream Cheese Filling Directions:
Wash, rinse and dry the bowl that you used for the Pretzel crumbs.  Add in all of the ingredients for the Cream Cheese Filling.  Beat together until silky and smooth.  Put the entire mixture over top of the Pretzel crust, smooth out evenly with Spatula until completely covered.  Top the Cream Cheese Filling with the Cherry Pie Filling, using the Spatula to completely cover.

Place into the oven and bake for 15-minutes.  Remove from the oven wearing Oven Mitts, place on a flat heat-resistant surface.  Let dessert cool for at least an hour and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, cut into equal size squares. Enjoy!

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