Fall is finally upon us! The weather is cooling down below 70, we’ve turned on the heat for the first time since last winter. Love that smell. It’s pumpkin and apple season, which means drooling daily over fall flavored baked goods on Pinterest and the blogs I follow.
We made a trip out to Carver’s Apple Orchard over last weekend to get outside in the beautiful weather and pick up some apple varietals only found there. I won’t spend too much time talking about it because I plan on a separate post, but the hour and half drive was well worth it for the fried apple pie alone. We picked up some Ambrosia and Jonathan apples. So Sunday evening I was on the hunt for a quick dessert recipe to make with a few of those apples and enter Caramel Apple Cheesecake bars. Done and done!
To be quite honest, this is one of the best apple desserts I’ve ever made. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good old fashioned apple pie, but this combines an apple pie with an apple crumble and cheesecake then tops it with caramel sauce. Sounds just awful, right? Well, I’ve already gotten one request for a whole pan for someone’s birthday. 😉
The below recipe is for a 9×13 pan of cheesecake bars, but you can easily divide it in half to make a 9×9 pan, which is what I did. I used a square nonstick baking pan lined with foil and that worked out perfectly! Leftovers will hold up for several days in the fridge too.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup speculoos cookie butter
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- Cheesecake Filling:
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used Jonathans)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Streusel Topping:
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- Caramel Drizzle:
- 1 packed cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Add cookie butter. Press evenly into a 9×13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
- In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
- For the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
- Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set.
- Meanwhile make the caramel sauce: Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it thickens. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.
- Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Make 16 servings.
Hope you enjoy! What other fall treats have you been making this season? I’ve got something pumpkin flavored on the brain next!