CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE BARS
These caramel apple cheesecake bars are everything you love about Fall! Warm spices, creamy cheesecake, a shortbread crust, brown sugar streusel topping, and of course cinnamon sugar coated apples.
This recipe has a few steps but it's totally worth it. And since no one can seem to find pumpkin right now, go ahead and make this delicious apple dessert instead!
Don't forget that caramel drizzle on top. I go the easy route and just buy some caramel ice cream syrup. But you could make your own homemade caramel sauce if wanted.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE BARS
All-Purpose Flour, Brown Sugar, Cold Butter - This makes the shortbread crust. Make sure the butter is cold when you use it.
Cream Cheese, Granulated Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Eggs - Combine these together to make the cheesecake filling. To avoid lumps in the batter make sure that the cream cheese is softened well before adding.
Granny Smith Apples, Granulated Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg - Peel & chop the apples up into really small pieces and coat them in the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
All-Purpose Flour, Brown Sugar, Oats, Cold Butter - Mix this up until thick crumbs form. This is the streusel topping.
Caramel Sauce or Syrup - I just buy some caramel ice cream syrup but feel free to make your own if wanted.
HOW TO MAKE THIS APPLE DESSERT RECIPE
- Combine the crust ingredients into a small bowl and mix until it's crumbly. It's easiest to do this with your hands or you can use a pastry cutter. Press this into the greased pan and bake.
- While the crust is baking prepare the cheesecake filling. Combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla and beat together until combined well and creamy. Pour this over the crust. No need to cool the crust before doing this.
- Stir together the chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Layer the apples over the cheesecake.
- For the final layer, mix together the streusel ingredients and evenly sprinkle it over the apples.
- Bake the caramel apple cheesecake bars. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the bars after baking.
- Let the bars cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before cutting and serving.
MY TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE
- Cut the apples really small! If they are too big they will not cook in the bake time and you will end up with crispy/almost raw apples in the cheesecake bars. About the size of frozen peas or corn is what I aim for when I make this.
- For best taste and texture use full-fat, real cream cheese.
- The crust mixture will seem dry as you are mixing it but once you press it into the pan it will hold together and stay. I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press it into the pan tightly.
- Plan ahead! These bars have to cool on the counter top for 1 hour after baking + 3-4 hours refrigeration time before cutting and serving. They need the fridge time so the cheesecake forms together and so the bars will cut nicely.
YOU WILL LOVE THESE OTHER APPLE DESSERT RECIPES
Simple Apple Crisp - An apple crisp with an easy shortbread crisp topping. If you love simple apple crisp without the mile high oatmeal topping then you will love this version. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Oatmeal Cookie Apple Crumble - Tart & sweet apples with an oatmeal cookie crumble topping. I make this every Fall! It's one of my personal favorite apple desserts. Serve this one with vanilla ice cream as well. Maybe even some caramel sauce too!
Caramel Apple Muffins - Chunks of apple and caramel bits in a muffin that's coated in a buttery cinnamon & sugar topping.
Snickerdoodle Apple Cobbler - Apples coated in cinnamon and sugar and topped with a sugar cookie mix on top!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 12 tablespoons cold butter cubed small
- 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3 granny smith apples peeled and chopped very small
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup quick oats
- 5 tablespoons cold butter cubed small
- caramel syrup/sauce drizzle
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. You can also use parchment paper and spray the parchment paper. Set aside. * I use parchment paper because then you can just lift the bars out of the pan (by the overhang of the parchment paper) this makes it easier to cut the bars if they're out of the pan.
- MAKE THE CRUST : In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and cold cubed butter. Use a pastry cutter or hands to mix until crumbly. Press into the baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
- While the crust is baking MAKE THE CHEESECAKE : Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs into a bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, and beat together until smooth and combined. MAKE THE CINNAMON SUGAR APPLES : Combine the peeled and chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a small bowl. Mix together until all the apples are coated.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooked crust and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the apples over the cheesecake. *No need to cool the crust before adding the cheesecake & apples.
- MAKE THE STREUSEL TOPPING : Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and cold butter into a small bowl. Use a pasty cutter, or your hands, to mix it together until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes. The edges should be done and slightly pulled away from the edges of the pan. The middle should be soft set but not wiggly (which means raw batter).
- Remove from oven and put on a cooling rack. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the bars and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover the dish and put in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Cut into bars and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge.