Valentine's Envy™ Apple Cheesecake Bars
1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 Envy™ apple
2 T sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature (important!)
1 tsp vanilla
Red food coloring
Heart shaped cookie cutter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9x13 pan by first spraying the pan with nonstick spray and then press parchment paper to the bottom and up the sides of the pan so that it sticks to the pan well.
Beat together the cake mix and melted butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Spread the cake mixture evenly along the bottom of the pan.
Mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
Toss the diced apples with the cinnamon sugar and then sprinkle on top of the cake mixture and gently press into the cake mix using your hand.
Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, scraping down the sides half way through.
Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Scrape down the sides a few times and make sure all is well combined and no clumps are left.
Spoon out ½ cup of the cream cheese mixture into a small bowl and set aside. *Do not add food coloring to this, keep white.
Turn the mixer on low and continue to add drops of red food coloring until desired color (light pink, dark pink, red)
Spread the colored cream cheese mixture over top of the cake and apples. Gently spread evenly, trying not to move any of the apple pieces.
Spoon small dollops of the white cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the red mixture. Take a toothpick or knife and swirl the two together slightly to make a swirled appearance.
Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until the top no longer giggles.
Turn off the oven and crack the door about ½ way open and then leave the cheesecake in there until the oven is room temperature. This ensures it cools and sets properly!
Once cooled, gently and evenly lift the parchment out of the pan and place the cheesecake on a cutting board or flat surface. Using the heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out pieces and then carefully cut away the trim to get smooth edges.
Place on a pretty platter and serve!