Welcome back to my healthy cooking blog! haha!
(yes, I went a little overboard with the caramel, oops!)
I feel like I've been eating way more sugar than normal lately. I think it's pregnancy related because I like desserts but I don't usually bake them THIS much. No one in my house is complaining though, especially my husband and toddler.
The reason I tried this recipe (which I saw on Polish the Stars but can also be found at The Girl Who Ate Everything), other than because it looks amazing, is because I thought it would be a great dessert to take to one of our family gatherings (for one of the holidays). Since I'm usually making something for a gathering at the last possible minute, I decided to work ahead of schedule to reduce the stress. Plus, I'm having a baby at the end of October so I'm sure I will be exhausted and lazy for at least a month.
This recipe was a hit though! The recipe recommends serving it with caramel sauce which I went ahead and made and plan to use for ice cream in the future (recipe below). The caramel is VERY easy to make (it takes about 10 minutes), but if you're worried then you could always use caramel ice cream topping from the store. The only tiny problem I had is that I THINK my pan was a little bit small because it took a little longer to bake. So in the future, I will make sure the pan is 9x13.
By the way, this was originally a Paula Deen recipe. Check out the ingredients list below and tell me that wasn't obvious. hehe :)
|Remove the crust from the oven|
|Cream cheese mixture|
|Remove from oven and let cool|
|The bar before the caramel|
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Serving Size = 8 - 12 roughly (depends how big you cut the bars, you could stretch it further though)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (I didn't soften mine)
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats (I used old fashioned oats)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (I used 4 small organic green apples)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground saigon cinnamon (I used regular ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- I used my food processor and combined all of the ingredients for the crust. Blend until it's forms almost a cornmeal texture. Place mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan (original recipe recommends lining it with aluminum foil first, but I skipped it). Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the streusel topping, set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the apple layer, set aside.
- In a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing in between and then add the vanilla.
- Assemble: Pour the cream cheese mixture over the warm crust. Sprinkle on the apple layer, then the streusel layer.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the mixture has set. When you shake it, the middle shouldn't shake too much.
- Remove from oven and cool, then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours (overnight is better). To serve, top with the caramel sauce (recipe below).
|Yummy and very easy caramel sauce|
Caramel Sauce (can use over ice cream)
Serving Size = 1 cup
- 1 cup of sugar
- 6 tablespoons of butter (salted or unsalted)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup water
- Add the sugar and water to a 2 - 3 quart pan (the caramel will foam and bubble up, so you need room). Whisk together until the sugar is wet. Turn the heat on to about medium high.
- Leave the sugar until it starts to boil, then form crystals on the top, it will eventually get a very light hint of gold and when it does go ahead and gently swirl it. Keep an eye on it, swirling if necessary until the sugar is completely dissolved and dark amber.
- Add the butter all at once and whisk until it completely melts. Remove from heat, count to 3 and then carefully add the heavy cream (it will steam up, so don't burn your hands). The mixture will bubble and foam, keep whisking until everything is smooth and mixed together.
- Let it cool down a bit, pour into a bowl pyrex container or mason jar, let it cool to room temperature, cover, and then store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving. Just dip out whatever amount you want and microwave for just a few seconds. Also, if you notice some caramel clumped around the edges of the pan, just leave it because it will not blend with the rest of the caramel and will instead be chewy.