Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping


Oh Yum yum yum.  This is a great cheesecake bar, let me tell you.  And the caramel sauce.....just divine. 

I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of this luscious dessert.  It's got it all....buttery crust, creamy cheesecake, chewy sweet crumb topping, and, like I said before, the caramel sauce just takes it over the top.  (If you have any leftovers, it's delicious on ice cream!)

I tried to make it a wee bit lighter in fat by reducing the butter by a few Tablespoons here and there....I'm sure it didn't affect the taste at all, and every little effort to be healthier counts, right?  Right?

I think it would be incredible with a graham cracker crust as well, maybe one spiked with cinnamons and some finely chopped pecans.  That would reduce the fat even further, because graham cracker crusts don't use as much butter as this shortbread did.  So maybe I'll try that out sometime.


Recipe:  from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick + 5 T. butter,
softened  (Original recipe calls for 2 sticks)
Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apples:
2 Large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats

6 T butter, softened (Original recipe calls for 1 stick or 1/2 cup)
1 cup caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.
Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.
Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).
Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.


7 comments:

  1. Amazing!

    I'll be bookmarking this one for Friday Favorites!

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  2. These look really yummy. I have a recipe from Bon Appetit years ago that is for a caramel apple cheesecake but these are slightly different.

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  3. We just made these for Bible study tomorrow night... can't wait!!

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    Replies
    1. Let me know how you guys like them!

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  4. I'm making these now! I only have fuji apples. Do you think that'll make a big difference? Thanks!!

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  5. I'm making these now! I only have fuji apples- do you think that'll make a big difference? Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. I think Fuji apples will work just fine - good luck!

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