Friday, November 6, 2015

Apple Butter Cheesecake Streusel Bars

I am never quite sure what to think about apple butter. I’ve not ever bought apple butter just to eat. I’m sure it is very good on toast and that sort of thing. How could a spiced apple spread be a bad thing? And when I have some leftover, it usually just sits in the refrigerator. But I often find recipes that use apple butter and they are usually just fantastic. To me, fall means apple butter and here’s this year’s recipe.

I first found a cake that called for an apple butter topping and I figure I could just adapt the recipe to make bar cookies. Then I found this recipe, with cheesecake filling and streusel topping and thought that would be great. It’s interesting, most recipes that call for apple butter use brands that I’ve never heard of. I used to get one brand, now I can only find a different one. Grocery stores typically carry just one brand of apple butter (if any at all). I did go to a couple of stores as one store had a fancy gourmet brand that was expensive in a tiny bottle, but another store had a larger jar.

There are a couple of steps for these bars, and it does mess up a food processor and a mixer bowl, but it wasn’t too bad.  These are substantial bars, but they sure cut beautifully, which can be tricky with a multi-layered bar cookie. I really like these bars, which isn’t surprising with the apple butter. These are very buttery, and the sweetness of the apple butter pairs nicely with the tartness of the cream cheese. These bars are perfect for fall.

Apple Butter Cheesecake Streusel Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cut into small pieces

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups apple butter 

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter pieces. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and press the mixture evenly into the base of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the crust to cool while you make the cheesecake filling and streusel. 

Make the cheesecake filling: In a large mixer bowl beat the cream cheese on medium until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the egg and vanilla and beat again on medium until smooth. Spread the cheesecake filling on top of the partially cooled crust, leaving a half inch border along the edges. Spread the apple button on top of the cheesecake filling.

Make the streusel: in the bowl of the food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, butter, salt and pecans. Pulse the food processor until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel completely over the top of the apple butter. You may have slightly more streusel than you need. 

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the streusel begins to brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To cut into bars, lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. 

Recipe from The Suburban Soapbox

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