AHHH! It’s the last day of August! Time to prepare for fall, even though this week is to be very hot and humid here. We’ve been enjoying some very fall-like weather, which has been great (except for my garden deciding to pretty much be done for the season) and I was recently given a bag of apples from my friend’s tree. I wasn’t really anticipating anything apple-related for another couple of weeks but whatcha gonna do? I was actually kinda sad because my counter wasn’t full of some kind of produce so I welcomed the apples and got busy.
And boy am I glad. These Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars are wonderful!!! When it really is fall, I think I’ll make these every day. Well, maybe not every day….but I sure would like to eat one every day. These bars scream fall goodness.
Yup, see those layers? A wonderful crust, topped with cheesecake, topped with spiced apples, topped with streusel, topped with caramel? It doesn’t get much better than this! I just made a half recipe but next time I’m making the whole thing!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
from Our Best Bites (the bars) and the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion (the caramel)
Bars – Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter (12 tablespoons), cubed
Bars – Filling
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Bars – Streusel
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), cubed
1/3 c caramel sauce
You can buy caramel sauce to drizzle on top but I chose to make some. There are several recipes out there, but I chose to make one from my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. In fact, it’s the same as the Caramel Frosting recipe I posted a while back – just don’t do the last step of adding powdered sugar.
What To Do
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a well-greased 13×9 baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread over crust.
In a small bowl, toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar; spoon over cream cheese layer. In another bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and oats; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple layer.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping; cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour. (OR reserve caramel for later. They can be served without caramel sauce, or sauce can be drizzled on before serving. ) Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut into bars.
I lined my pan with foil and sprayed the foil with non-stick cooking spray. That way it’s so easy to just lift out of the pan and makes it super easy to cut into bars.
In the streusel, I used old-fashioned oats.
I made half the caramel recipe and chose to reserve it to drizzle on as needed. It does thicken up after cooling so just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and it will be drizzle-ready.
Some Photos Along the Way
Dicing the Apples
Adding the Cheesecake Layer
The Apple Layer
The Streusel Layer
I am always sad to see summer go but I do enjoy fall produce like apples. My counter won’t be empty for long. More apples and pears and squash are all coming soon. I think I’ll sit back and enjoy this time between summer and fall produce with another Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bar and a good book.
Have a great week!