Apple cinnamon cheesecake bars (with a gooey caramel sauce that develops as it bakes) are a wonderful alternative to a traditional cheesecake, and perfect for feeding a crowd!
There comes a time when you need to make a simple dessert, with seasonal ingredients, large enough to feed a crowd.
At least, I find myself in this situation from time to time. HA!
In fall, apples are the star in Maryland.
We happen to have a TON of apples here at the homestead.
No, not from our own trees (although we do have a few). They’re seconds from a local farm—imperfect to look at, but delicious to eat. Perfect for things like applesauce and…
Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake Bars
I scoured the interwebs for inspiration, and stumbled upon this recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping a few different times.
Looks good, right? I thought so….
Lucky me, my sister (who happened to be visiting from Brooklyn that weekend) snapped a photo of me managing phone and ingredients.
I might have been searching for that inspiration OR checking Facebook. Probably the latter.
Back to the task at hand…
The apples for this recipe are peeled and diced small because they’re baked on top of a cheesecake filling and they need to be done by the time the cheesecakes’s ready.
Lots of chopping…
I’m not a fan of “caramel topping” like that other recipe calls for, and I wasn’t really in the mood to make caramel from scratch, so instead I made it EXTRA cinnamon-y.
And extra brown sugar-y.
See how all the cinnamon and brown sugar bubbles up in the nooks and crannies?
It’s like a caramel sauce develops on its own!
The apples become tender and sweet—but not TOO sweet—and the juices come together to make a syrupy sauce.
Are you drooling yet?
The great thing about making apple cinnamon cheesecake *bars* instead of a traditional cheesecake is how easy it is to serve and store.
I just let it chill completely in the baking dish, and then served it up in squares.
Beware: it’s pretty rich, so a little goes a long way!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 sticks salted butter, softened
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 apples, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the streusel topping:
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup quick cook oats
- 1 stick salted butter, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a small mixing bowl and set them aside.
- Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Use a fork or a pastry cutter to work in the butter until the crumbly mixture is about the size of large peas. As an alternative, you could combine everything into a food processor and make the pea-sized crumbs there with a few whirs.
- Press the crust mixture evenly in the bottom (and up the sides a little) of a 9x13" baking dish, and then bake it for about 15 minutes, or until it's golden brown.
- Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, using a hand-held mixer, blend the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar together for 1 minute. Add the eggs and the vanilla and continue to blend for 1 minute longer. Pour the mixture evenly over the warm crust.
- Sprinkle the apple mixture evenly on top of the cheesecake batter, followed by the streusel topping (recipe below).
- Bake it for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the cheesecake filling is just set. Let it chill completely before serving.
For the streusel topping:
- Use a fork to combine the brown sugar, flour, oats and butter in a small bowl.
I let the cheesecake bars cool for about 20 minutes on the counter before moving them to the fridge to finish chilling completely.
Inspired by Paula Deen's recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.
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- Pyrex Prepware 2-1/2-Quart Glass Mixing Bowl
- Cuisinart HM-90BCS Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer with Storage Case, Brushed Chrome
- Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper, Black (70725A)
- Spring Chef Dough Blender, Top Professional Pastry Cutter with Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Blades (Black-Medium)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 219mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g