Monday, September 19, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Homemade Caramel Sauce

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 :)

The crust
Remove the crust from the oven
Cream cheese mixture
Apple topping
Layer everything
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)
Streusel Topping
  • 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
Apple Layer
  • 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
Cheesecake Filling
  • 3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. 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.
    3. Combine the ingredients for the streusel topping, set aside.
    4. Combine the ingredients for the apple layer, set aside.
    5. 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.
    6. Assemble: Pour the cream cheese mixture over the warm crust. Sprinkle on the apple layer, then the streusel layer. 
    7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the mixture has set. When you shake it, the middle shouldn't shake too much.
    8. 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
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.


    Alea Milham said...

    You are killing me with these bars! They look incredible! I am adding this to my dessert bar the next time I host a party. Thanks for sharing your recipes with the Hearth and Soul Hop - even the ones that guarantee I will be spending extra time at the gym. :)

    Swathi said...

    Delicious Caramel apple cheesecake bars. I have to make this.

    Candace said...

    I want a piece of that just like the one you featured.....with all that luscious caramel dripping off the top. YUM! I've always been intimidated to make caramel sauce. Your recipe seems doable and I'm encouraged to give it a try. I'm pinning this recipe to try at the holidays. I know it would be a huge hit at the family table. Thank you!

    Stephanie said...

    This looks absolutely delicious! I pinned it! Congrats on the baby that is coming soon! I have a party going on over at my blog if you want to join! I'd love to have you! Check it out under the "Stache Party" page on my blog:

    Mexico in my kitchen said...

    That dessert looks sinful! And if you then add the Paula Dean touch it must be.


    laurie said...

    This looks awesome..I'm going to pin this on my boards at Pinterest!

    Doreen Grace said...

    Wow. That looks delicious!

    Deborah McGrath said...

    Wow, just popped over from Debbiedoos Newbie party. Looks delish. I shall have to try it.

    Ez said...

    Elsa your recipes look AMAZING! Would you drop over to my place and cook for me sometime?? lol


    x said...

    YUM! I LOVE your recipe! Would you come over to CAST PARTY WEDNESDAY tomorrow and share your recipe with us?
    I hope to see you there!

    Jess Wakasugi {Life's Simple Measures} said...

    Stopping over from Cast Party Wednesdays and wow, these are amazing looking! Paula always knows how to do it right ;)

    Ellen Zames said...

    OMG this looks absolutely amazing!! Please come over to our blog and link this recipe up to our Sharing Sundays (the link is still open until Saturday) This week's theme is APPLES!


    Erin said...

    Holy heck! These look amazing! Just the right amount of caramel for me =o)

    Megan @ said...

    I'm so glad you liked them. Thanks for linking back to me! :)

    Rhondi said...

    Oh YUM! This looks delicious. Perfect amount of caramel sauce for me too :)

    Sarah E. said...

    That looks unbelievably delicious!
    Stopping by from Tues @ the Table

    alwayshungry said...

    Wow! I've fallen in love!
    I'm going to make this this very afternoon!!
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.
    I'm salivating in advance...
    I'll let you know how it comes out.

    Lady Behind The Curtain said...

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your recipe is being featured at CAST PARTY WEDNESDAY by Lady Behind The Curtain. Come over tomorrow and grab a featured button. Oh, and don't forget to party with me!

    alwayshungry said...

    Fabulous, delicious, outstanding, my, my this recipe is tasty!! Thank you so much for sharing, these were a real success!

    Jerri said...

    How scrumptious this looks! Thanks for linking up with me for Friday Favorites. I'm featuring you this week. Come by and grab my featured button if you'd like one.

    momphotographer said...

    This is great. I am in a mission to find a good cheese cake these days. I used to make cheese cakes back in Poland but they are different than American, and you can't get that cheese that we use in Poland (only in Polish or Russian stores). I have never made American cheese cake and the same as you, when I'm pregnant I've got those craziest craving not only for eating but for making and trying to make different dishes that I have never tried to make before. Now the idea of cheese cake has been hunting me for a month now, and I think it's time to decide what kind of cheese cake I should mak.
    this reciep is a little bit to big for our family so I think I might cut the ingredients in half.
    thanks for sharing!

    April @ The 21st Century Housewife said...

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with the New Year Edition of the Gallery of Favorites. I just love the sound of this recipe, and as for how it looks, well, my mouth is watering just from the photographs. I will definitely be trying your Caramel Apple Cheesecake bars soon! Thank you for your support of the Gallery of Favorites over the last few months. I look forward to seeing what you will share in the New Year! Wishing you and your family a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

    Couscous & Consciousness said...

    That just looks incredible - I'm sitting here licking my lips!!
    Sue :-)

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