Monday, October 31, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars ... Ahhh-mazing ...

Warning: Do NOT be intimidated by all of the steps! If you gave all of your ingredients out to begin with, cooking won't make you want to pull your hair out!  Make sure to have a few bowls out and ready because this recipe has a few different mixtures.

    I tried this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything ... I'm not a big baker - I'd rather be cooking up dinner, so I decided to branch out and make something from scratch. (If I was a big baker, I'd be twice the size- I can't say no!)  
   These bars are the perfect fall treat, especially if you're a cheesecake fan like me.  The combination of creamy + crunchy is perfect.  I ended up bringing some into school so I wasn't tempted to eat them all!   I recommend making these when a group is coming over- or someone else to help you get rid of them!

Here's the recipe!... *Oh yeah... it's taken from Paula Deen, so like I said in the beginning- head straight to the gym! :)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Use your hands to get a better mixture going.

1/2 cup caramel topping **I didn't use the caramel topping- spare me the calories!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy!

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