I am ready for fall. I always am. It is my favorite season. And I am so over the heat and humidity of summer. Ok, I always am that too.
Fall officially arrives today, although it won’t show up in these parts for about two month. Ugh. In the meantime, I’ll have to make due dreaming about the ability to wear these boots and making fall-appropriate desserts like these bars.
I loved the apple layer, the cheesecake layer, and the caramel sauce, but all together they are spectacular. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
The instructions seem long, but the recipe is not hard. The longest part is peeling and chopping the apples. Also, these would be delicious with vanilla ice cream! 🙂
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping
Yield: 16-20 bars
For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature (low-fat is fine)
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 Tbsp., divided
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
For the caramel sauce:
Use your favorite recipe or, gasp, store-bought (I did).
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Leave an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out afterward.
To make the streusel:
1. In a small bowl, combine all of the streusel ingredients.
2. Use a fork (or a pastry cutter) to combine until the mixture becomes crumbly.
3. Refrigerate mixture while you finish making the bars.
To make the crust:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt.
2. Add the butter, and use two forks or a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the dry ingredients. Combine until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
4. Cool on a wire rack while making the filling. (It doesn’t need to cool completely.)
To make the filling:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with 1/4 cup of the sugar until smooth.
2. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat just until the mixture is incorporated evenly. Pour over the prepared crust.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the apples with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, the cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir until the apples are evenly coated.
4. Spoon the apples over the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples.
5. Bake for the bars for 30-35 minutes or until the filling has set.
6. Remove the pan to a wire rack and cool the bars completely.
7. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours.
8. When ready to serve, use the foil to lift the bars out. (Either drizzle the pan with the caramel sauce or drizzle over the sliced squares later.) and cut into squares for serving.