Monday, December 16, 2013

Bananas Foster Cheesecake Bars with Caramel Rum Frosting

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Raise your hand if you have ever worked retail during the holidays. (Raising hand.)
I am pretty sure it is one of the most thankless jobs to have during the holiday shopping season.  It is long hours with cranky, frazzled gift shoppers all while listening to that incessant company soundtrack of holiday music that is played on a constant loop.  (You all in retail know exactly what I am talking about, don't you? ;) )

I worked retail for a couple of years in my early 20's.  Not my thing.
My husband on the other hand?  He's a natural at it.  
But even the holiday season can wear on him. (Ahem... he cringed when I put on some holiday music while we hung ornaments on the tree and begged me to put Elf on instead.  I gladly obliged.)

The holidays are not all about crowded shopping malls, long lines, gift wrapping, and so on....
The holidays are about paying it forward as well.  
This year I decided I wanted to pay it forward to my husband and his fellow co-workers in retail with a little homemade treat. 
And what says I appreciate you and what you do more than cheesecake?  Am I right, folks? :)
These Bananas Foster Cheesecake Bars are a cinch to make with the help of Nestle's Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Kit.  I adore cheesecake in any form... but let's face it- it can be sort of labor intensive and isn't always foolproof.  I can appreciate any easy to use baking kit that can make creating a delicious cheesecake less stressful.  The Nestle's Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Kit I picked up at my local Walmart takes the guess work out of it...
And since I didn't have to worry about a water bath, or cracks in my cheesecake, or taking it out too soon or too late, I was able to focus on doing a little something to fancy them up... ;)

Bananas Foster Cheesecake Bars with Caramel Rum Frosting
by Frugal Foodie Mama
Prep Time: 35 minutes active prep, 4 hour inactive prep (chilling time)
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Ingredients (24 bars)
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark or spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Nestle Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Kit
for the kit
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 bricks) of cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 eggs, room temp
For the Caramel Rum Frosting
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup of the Dulce De Leche caramel sauce
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark or spiced rum
Instructions
Heat the brown sugar, butter, & cinnamon in a medium sauce pan over low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Add in the sliced bananas and saute another 2-3 minutes. Pour in the rum and heat for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare the Nestle Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Kit according to the package directions, but press and pour into a 13x9 baking pan instead of a 9 inch pie plate.

Once the bananas foster mixture has cooled, pour into a medium bowl. Add in the flour, baking soda, & salt and mix until just combined. Evenly drop generous tablespoonfuls of the bananas foster batter over top of the cheesecake batter. Using a butter knife, draw the bananas foster batter through the cheesecake batter. I made vertical lines with the butter knife, then horizontal ones across.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges puff up and the center jiggles slightly when gently shaken.
Allow to cool at room temp for 1 hour, then transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.

*To prepare the Caramel Rum Frosting*
Beat together the butter and Dulce de Leche caramel sauce in a medium bowl until creamy. Beat in the spiced or dark rum. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
You can just spread the frosting over the chilled bars or cut into bars and then prettily pipe the frosting onto each bar as I did.

You can store any leftover cheesecake covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Enjoy!
**There will be some Dulce De Leche caramel sauce leftover. Just refrigerate and keep on hand to serve over ice cream or to mix into hot cocoas. :)
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I sent a few of these prettily packaged goodie boxes full of these Bananas Foster Cheesecake Bars in with my husband to his workplace over the weekend.   They were very much appreciated and gobbled up by his co-workers.  With less than 10 shopping days left before Christmas, they were in need of a little sweet treat. :) (And probably some Christmas carol free time too!)

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So this next week while you are out frantically getting that last minute holiday shopping done, take a moment to thank a salesperson who helped you find that perfect gift.  Give a genuine smile to the cashier who rings up your purchases. (You may have waited in the that long line for 20 minutes, but they have probably been there for hours checking out customers.)  Leave a little extra something for your server when you take a lunch or dinner break from the holiday gift quest.  

Who deserves a special home baked treat from you this holiday season?
Who will you make something delicious for this week using the Nestle Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Kit? :)