Fall is officially here, which means it is time for caramel apples, candy corn and pumpkin desserts. I love almost any dessert with apples, and when I saw this recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, it sounded too good to pass up. Who doesn’t love the combination of caramel and apples, and combined with cheesecake you really can’t go wrong. Plus, this recipe was lightened up a bit by the Deen brothers. I always feel better about eating a dessert if it seems even a little “lighter.”
The recipe isn’t too complicated to make. You start with a basic crust and top with cheesecake, chopped apples and a delicious crumble. These bars would be great on their own, but they are really over the top with you drizzle a little caramel over the top.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars (recipe from The Deen Bros.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 (8-ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 cup fat-free caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil, allowing the foil to extend over the rim of the pan by 2 inches. Spray the foil with nonstick spray.
Pulse the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan, pressing firmly to form an even layer. Bake until the crust is set, about15 minutes. Transfer to a rack.
Meanwhile, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar until blended. Beat in the egg, egg white, and vanilla until combined. Pour the filling evenly over the warm crust. Sprinkle the chopped apples evenly over the filling.
To make the topping, using a fork, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the chopped apples. Bake until the filling is set and the topping is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Drizzle with the caramel sauce. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours. Lift out using the foil as handles. Cut into 24 bars.