If I had to pick a new favorite dessert on my blog, this would be it, hands down! Like, I am not even kidding! The shortbread crust uses brown sugar, which I had never done before, & it just gives it a depth of flavor you don’t get with a white sugar shortbread crust. The cream cheese layer is perfectly creamy & just the right thickness. The apples are lightly tart & the crunchy streusel just takes it over the top for me! I am a streusel fan & this streusel was the perfect crunchy texture amongst all the other smooth & chunky elements of this dessert.

 

 

You can eat this dessert as is, but the caramel drizzled over the top compliments everything so well. Sometimes you worry with a dessert like this that it is going to be extremely sugary & hard to eat, but this is balanced incredibly well. Just right in every bite! You HAVE to try this! Like, yesterday! Make this dessert for your neighbors, for the holidays, for an apple snack, who cares! Just make it, & soon!

 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Yield 16 bars/squares

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

Apples:

  • 3 Granny Smith or Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, & cut into 1/2" or less cubes
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup caramel topping for drizzling after being baked

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine flour, brown sugar, & softened butter until it comes together (you will know when it's ready because it will be super dry & crumbly & then all of a sudden will pack together & look moist.) Press evenly into a 13x9" baking pan lightly greased with cooking spray. Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with ½ cup sugar using an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time, & then add vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together cubed apples, 2 Tbsp sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture (juices & all) evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  5. For the streusel topping: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the apples. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping & let cool. Serve cold & enjoy!

Recipe Notes

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Recipe lightly altered from Raining Hot Coupons