Friday, October 2, 2020

Apple Cheesecake Bars


It’s fall and I’m ready for fall baking! We have had a couple of warm days, but our house doesn’t seem to get very warm, which is a relief. I think we have turned the corner and it’s back to cool and rainy days. I guess I should change my closet back to clothes for cooler weather. With the new norm of working from home, I wear a lot of jeans and hoodies now! Maybe I should enhance my hoodie collection!

This recipe highlights apples, which are always wonderful in baking. This bar cookie has a cheesecake filling, and the tartness of the cream cheese offsets the sweetness of the apples. The original recipe added a caramel drizzle after baking, but I didn’t feel that this was necessary. If you served this more as a dessert than a bar cookies, then you could simply drizzle caramel on each serving.

The recipe called for three medium apples, and I used two large apples because apples in the store are so big.  The trick is to chop the apples finely, no more than a ½” dice or smaller. They are easier to distribute evenly when then are chopped small. I also used a food processor to cut in the butter to mixtures- it’s so much neater. There’s no need to wash your food processor between the crust and the streusel. Make sure these are nice and cold when you cut them, it’s much easier. These are so very tasty, with the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.

Apple Cheesecake Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 large apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

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

Make the crust: in a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, and ¾ cup cold butter. Process, using short pulses, until the mixture is crumbly. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

While the crust is baking, make the cheesecake filling: in a large mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, ½ cup sugar, and vanilla on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the chopped apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Once the crust comes out of the oven, spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust and top with the chopped apple mixture.

Make the streusel topping: in a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, and 1/3 cup butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the bars.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until the filling is set. Cool on a wire rack for one hours and then refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Katherine White, Taste of Home

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