Apricot Cheesecake Bars
18 graham crackers
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
10 ounces apricots (about 4), halved, pitted, and cut into eighths
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, process graham crackers, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Wipe processor bowl clean. With a flat-bottomed 1-cup measure or glass, press crumbs evenly into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until crust is firm, 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.
2. In a small saucepan, bring apricots, 1/4 cup sugar, and pinch of salt to a boil over medium-high, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is shiny, 10 minutes. In food processor, puree apricot mixture, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream on medium until smooth. Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and pinch of salt and beat to combine. Add eggs and beat until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed. Pour cream-cheese mixture into cooled crust and smooth top.
4. Randomly drop small spoonfuls apricot puree on cream-cheese mixture. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, gently swirl puree. Bake just until set, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan on rack, then refrigerate until chilled and firm before cutting into squares, 2 hours.
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