I made very few changes to the original recipe — as usual, my version is below. I received pretty high remarks when I brought these into work. Considering how easy the recipe was to make, it's definitely a keeper!
Apricot-Swirled Cheesecake Bars (makes about 24 bars)
18 graham crackers
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup apricot* preserves (I used Smuckers)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 packages (16 oz. total) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
*You can substitute another kind of preserves (e.g., blueberry). Just be sure to drain the preserves if they have a lot of liquid.
- Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, process graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in melted butter until crumbs are evenly moistened. With a flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass, press crumbs evenly into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Bake until crust is firm, about 10 minutes. Let crust cool on a wire rack, and reduce oven to 325 degrees.
- Apricot swirl: In a small saucepan, heat preserves, stirring frequently, until mixture is shiny and thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. In a food processor, puree preserves, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water.
- Cheesecake: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and sour cream on medium until smooth. Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Then add vanilla and pinch of salt and beat to combine. Add eggs and beat again until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed. Pour cream cheese mixture into cooled crust and smooth the top.
- Putting it together: Randomly drop small spoonfuls of the apricot puree on top of the cream cheese mixture. Gently drag a skewer or thin-bladed knife through the apricot mixture to swirl the two mixtures together. Bake just until set, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack, and then refrigerate until chilled and firm before cutting into squares (about 2 hours).