Sunday, October 21, 2007

Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake Bars

These are SO good!! But you do have to refrigerate it for a long time...

1 cup pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups crushed nilla wafers
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla
4 eggs
24 caramels
1 tbsp water
3 squares (or 3 oz) semi-sweet baking chocolate

Preheat oven to 325*. Line 9x13 baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Remove 1/2 cup of the pecans and set aside. Finely chop remaining pecans. Mix wafer crumbs, chopped pecans and butter. Press firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream, flour and vanilla. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.
Bake 45 minutes of until center is almost set. Cool completely. Place caramels in microwaveable bowl. Add water. Microwave on high 1 minute or until caramels are completely melted when stirred. Pour over cheesecake. Top with reserved pecans. Melt chocolate as directed on pkg; drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Use foil handles to remove cheesecake from pan before cutting into pieces to serve. Store any leftovers in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

**Melissa's helpful tips*
- put wafers and 1/2 cup of pecans in food processor to chop it all fine
- use glass dishes to melt caramels and chocolate in microwave (they're easier to clean than plastic)
- use 1 cup Kraft Caramel Bits (instead of caramel squares)-- they're already unwrapped!
- My oven took about 55 minutes, instead of the recommended 45
- Make sure you refrigerate it before serving :)

Makes 32 servings

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