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Christmas Cookie Recipe: Apple caramel cheesecake bars

Posted December 17, 2018 5:00 p.m. EST

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

I'm not even ashamed to admit that I did, indeed, eat these for breakfast a few mornings the other week. These take a few more steps than I'd prefer in my treat recipes, but the extra work is totally worth it.

Apple Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from Taste of Home


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
2 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.

To make the crust for the bars: In one bowl, mix together the flour and brown sugar. Then, add in the 3/4 cup cold butter that you've already cubed. I like to incorporate the cold butter using either a fork, potato masher or, simply, my hands. Once the mixture is pretty crumbly, pour it into the prepared baking pan and press it down so that it is evenly distributed across the pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. It should be lightly browned.

In a larger bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla. Then add in the eggs and beat until it's all combined. Spread the mixture over the baked crust.

Then, get out another bowl. It's time to get the apple mixture ready. In this bowl, mix the apples with the cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar. Pour this over the cream cheese layer.

Then, make the streusel topping. In a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, oats and butter together. Again, I used a potato masher and my hands to get the mixture nice and crumbly. Pour it evenly over the apple layer.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until its set. Then, drizzle with the caramel topping. Cool in the pan for about an hour. These bars are best if they've been in the refrigerator for at least two hours, but preferably, overnight.

Here's what the process looked like for me:

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

Apple caramel cheesecake bars

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