Caramel.  Apples.  Cheesecake.  Shortbread.  Streusel.  Do I really need to write anything else here?  These bars take a few bowls to make a few layers, but they’re worth the effort, I pinky-swear.  From the bottom up they start with a buttery shortbread crust, layered with creamy cheesecake, then soft-baked soft apples (like apple pie) then topped with crumbly sweet streusel, and drizzled with caramel sauce.  They’re so, so good.  One of the favorite things that’s come through my kitchen lately, and there’s been a lot of baking going on around here as I stock up with holiday recipes in preparation for the arrival of our baby.

 

First layer is a buttery crust with just three ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Crust

Press it down into a pan and bake it off for a few minutes to get browned and toasted.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Pressed Crust

Then pour on an easy cheesecake layer: cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Cheesecake Filling

On top of that goes some diced, spiced apples.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_diced apples and cinnamon

And last, but definitely not least, a streusel topping.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Stresel Topping

Pop the whole thing in the oven and bake it until the cheesecake is set, the apples are soft and caramelized, and the topping is golden and crunchy.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Baked Streusel

You can pour the caramel over the top of the whole pan at this point and let it just kind of set in there as they cool, or you can leave it off.  If I’m serving these on a platter for a grab-and-go kind of thing, I sometimes leave it off completely, because they stack nicely without it, kind of like a bar cookie.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Bars Pre Caramel

If I’m serving them for an after dinner desert, I like to bring out the caramel separately,

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Caramel Sauce

And drizzle it on the plate.  If you’ve got the time, definitely make our Buttermilk Caramel Sauce– it’s freakin’ amazing.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake_Bars

Either way works great.  These are so stinkin’ good.  They’ll keep in the fridge if you want to make them ahead of time; I actually think they improve after being chilled for a few hours.

Amazing Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from Our Best Bites

Makes a great buffet style dessert, looks adorable in a cute gift box for giving, and works awesome for a fun family treat.  They’re kinda perfect.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from Our Best Bites

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Caramel. Apples. Cheesecake. Shortbread. Streusel. Do I really need to write anything else here?
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup cold butter (12 tablespoons), cubed
  4. 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  5. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  8. 3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel
  1. 3/4 cup flour
  2. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  4. 1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), cubed
  5. 1/3 cup caramel syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a well-greased 13x9 baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Adapted from Taste of Home: Ultimate Guide to Fall Baking
Our Best Bites http://ourbestbites.com/

27 comments

  1. Those bars look amazing! Can’t wait to bake them! Love cheesecake + apple flavor for fall = awesome!

  2. Those look yummy! I’m having my third baby this December and I’m trying to figure out what to do to prepare for the holidays/food also. Would you mind sharing what you are doing to prepare? Are you freezing food ahead of time? If so do you have certain recipes that you recommend? 🙂

      1. hahaha, this is the best strategy ever! I hope it works for you! These bars look delicious and I am really regretting not buying cream cheese at the store on Saturday.

  3. Holy cow that looks good and darned if I don’t have everything at home right now to make them. I have to finish the Pumpkin Spice Snack cake recipe ya’all posted recently though – I can’t have two scrumptious desserts available at once and still fit in my jeans… BTW, I’m thinking crumbles of maple bacon served on top of the caramel would blast this out of the universe. = )

  4. Yes – wondering what food you have frozen for your family to get ready for baby. Not holiday food – just your fav freezer meals?

        1. Lol, thanks, Nina… I just found it, too. I looked in the waffle post that came up in my search, and found the link in there. So odd that the single post didn’t come up on the search.

  5. Oh. My. Goodness. These look absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!!! If I had the time, I would sooooooooo make these. I LOVE CHEESECAKE!!!!! Since we moved into a new neighborhood recently, I was wondering what would be a good treat to give to some of our neighbors and say hi. Do I feel ambitious? Hmm…

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE the buttermilk caramel syrup. I must try if you haven’t made it yet. I will never, ever make another caramel syrup besides this one!

  7. So I came here this morning to get the recipe I was making for a dinner party tonight and saw this and had to give it a try. The entire party RAVED about these. The crust on the first one got pretty marred but after I got one out I was able to free the rest with the aid of a metal spatula. The crust was amazing (and unlike any I have had with cheesecake before. It will be hard for me to even consider making the apple streusel bars again with this recipe in my mind!

  8. Looks like a very easy recipe to halve, when it is just for my husband and myself. Furthermore, to sub in regular oats for quick, can’t you just give them a buzz in the blender to sort of break them down? Maybe this is not needed in this recipe though. Thank you for a yummy looking treat!

  9. These are divine!!! I am planning on making them for a couple of events coming up…..so I won’t eat half the pan like this time!! Super good!!! Thanks!

  10. Oh my gosh these look so good!! The recipe doesn’t seem too complicated and I love baking so I think I might just give this a try 🙂 all the recipes that are posted look delicious. The step by step pictures will definitely help me when I attempt to make this so thank you!

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