Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

ImageCrust:

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened

This makes a pretty thick crust. If you prefer less crust, it still turns out wonderfully with the crust ingredients halved.

*Cheesecake Layer:

  • 3 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Apples:

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (still good with any variety of apple)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Streusel Topping:

  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ½ c flour
  • ¼ c quick-cooking oats
  • ¼ c (1/2 stick) butter, softened

Caramel Sauce: (or you can just use a store-bought caramel topping)
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman, makes about 1/2 cup.

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c half & half or cream
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla

For homemade caramel sauce, 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. Remove from heat. Pour it into a jar and refrigerate for a couple hours. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is cumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13x2 baking pan lined with heavy-duty foil. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with ¾ c sugar 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, 2 Tbsp sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

In a small bowl, combine all streusel ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over the apple layer.

Bake 45-60 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping, or you can wait until serving and drizzle with caramel individually. Let the bars cool before serving for best results. Store in the refrigerator.

*Not as big of a cheesecake fan as I am? You can reduce the cheesecake layer with these amounts… Smaller Cheesecake Layer:

  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Reduce cooking time to about 30 minutes.

Source: http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/caramel-apple-cheesecake-bars-recipe/

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