Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

insideI cannot think of a dessert I like more than this one right here right now.

I make these bars every fall, and I know they are good, but I forget just how good until I take a bite and experience the bliss. These bars have so much texture and flavor going on. I will try to explain.

The bottom layer is a simple shortbread crust made with just flour, brown sugar, and butter. Doesn’t all the best stuff start with this simple combination?press crust

The next layer is a smooth and thick, cool cheesecake filling. filling

And then there are little bits of spiced tart apple. Not just every now and then, but in every bit of the bite. A plethora of apples.spiced apples

And a cozy cinnamon-y oatmeal streusel top that contrasts so beautifully with the creamy cheesecake. streusel topping

If that isn’t enough, there is just a hint of caramel to tie it all together. inside

This would be a wonderful, glorious dessert to bring to Thanksgiving along with the pumpkin pie. Everyone will love you, I promise.

If making cheesecake scares you, do not worry about this one. It is a no-fuss cheesecake. You don’t need a hot water bath for baking. You don’t need to worry about cracking. These bake just as bars bake with no extra steps. The cheesecake is covered up with apples, streusel, and caramel, so there is not a care in the world about cracking. It doesn’t. It won’t.

The recipe looks long, but I have broken it down into parts. Please don’t let it turn you off. This is definitely worth it.

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:crust

for the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened

for the cheesecake filling:

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

for the apples:spiced apples

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

for the streusel topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

for the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup jarred caramel sauce or make the homemade caramel described in this recipe

Directions:

  1. Gather all of your ingredients. Set the cream cheese, butter, and eggs on the counter in advance to come to room temperature. Prepare apples.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with heavy duty foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray. (The foil liner is to make it possible to lift the whole pan of bars out of the pan for neat and easy cutting. It is not critical but helpful.) line with foil
  3. The crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in softened butter with a fork or a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. (I delay baking until I have the other parts of the dessert ready because you want the crust to still be warm when you add the rest to it.)

    baked crust

    It doesn’t really get brown, but you can tell it has baked.

  4. The cheesecake filling: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer or stand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low just enough to combine. Add the vanilla. Stir to combine and pour over the warm crust. filling
  5. The apples: In a small bowl, toss the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Spoon evenly over the cream cheese layer. apples on top
  6. The streusel: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Use a fork or your hands to really combine the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle the streusel over the apple layer.
  7. Bake the layered bars at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The topping should be lightly browned and the filling should be set but will still jiggle a bit when shaken. It will firm up more while cooling. browned
  8. Either drizzle caramel over the bars when they come out of the oven or wait to drizzle it over individual pieces or do both!
  9. Let the bars cool on the counter and then chill in the refrigerator for several hours or more. To cut, lift the foil out of the pan and place on a cutting board to cut individual pieces. Serve cold and enjoy this taste of heaven.

Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything

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