Friday, October 19, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

'Tis the season to make anything apple. I'm always looking for a reason to make a yummy dessert and Sunday night family dinner is no better time. In the fall I crave anything with apple, from pancakes, to oatmeal.

This is a simple dessert with a taste that will blow the socks off of anyone! It may seem like a lot of steps but it really comes together quickly. I used the leftover caramel sauce from these pancakes but feel free to use store bought if you prefer.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

For the cheesecake filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the apple topping:
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped 
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg 
For the streusel topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 knives) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. 
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Beat to combine. Pour over warm crust. 
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

For the streusel topping,  combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Cut butter until mixture is crumbly and resembles a coarse meal.

Sprinkle streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Filling should look a little wiggly in the center but firm everywhere else.  Cheesecake will finish setting once cooled.
Once cooled but still warm, cut into squares, drizzle with caramel sauce and whipped topping, if desired.

SOURCE: Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

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