You all know how much I love cheesecake. I don’t get this decadent treat very much, and I rarely make cheesecake at home. However, when we are in a city near The Cheesecake Factory? We get cheesecake as often as we can. My go-to cheesecake usually has peanut butter and chocolate in it. But lately, the flavors of fall have been enticing me. I had to try our own version of the Dutch Apple Caramel Streusel Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.
These Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars were the answer.
I love making cheesecake in a bar form. There’s something about a hand-held cheesecake that is just fun.
Plus, if you don’t actually put the cheesecake on a plate, I don’t think the calories ever count against you. Anyone with me on this?
You’ll love these little bites of fall flavor.
They have a cinnamon graham cracker crust.
Then, comes the cheesecake layer. And in the middle of that cheesecake layer is apple pie filling. I used store-bought pie filling, which is not usually my favorite but I was looking for a shortcut for this part. If you’d like to take the time to use homemade pie filling, it will just taste all the more delicious!
The top of the cheesecake has caramel topping swirled into it. Just simply caramel ice cream topping will do.
Then comes what I think is the best part. A streusel topping with brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts. Baked into the top.
Streusel topping is one of my most favorite things. And it makes everything better.
Here’s a few hints for making these cheesecake bars:
1. Line the 8×8 pan with aluminum foil. This will make the cheesecake easy to remove.
2. I like small pieces of apple in my desserts, so I chopped the apples in the canned pie filling into small bites. This step isn’t necessary if you don’t mind big chunks of apple, but since I was cutting them into small squares, I think it was the right choice. That way every bite gets a taste of apple.
3. This baking pan was very full. Put a pan underneath your 8×8 pan just in case the cheesecake overflows. Mine did not actually overflow, but it is better to be safe than sorry!
4. You want to be sure to let the cheesecake set and chill at least four hours, but preferably overnight. This waiting is hard, I understand. Go take a nap, read a good book, or go run a few miles so you can eat this cheesecake without any guilt! It’s definitely worth the wait. We tried some after four hours, and it was good, but we definitely liked it better the longer it sat in the fridge.
5. Remove the cheesecake from the pan by pulling up on the aluminum foil, then use a sharp knife to cut the cake into squares.
Definitely try out these bars this fall. You won’t be disappointed!
- 1½ cups crushed cinnamon graham crackers (about 1 sleeve)
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1⅓ cups apple pie filling (with the apples chopped into small pieces)
- ⅓ cup caramel topping
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Line an 8x8 baking pan with tin foil. In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers and butter. Press them into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute or until creamy and smooth. Add eggs, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat just until smooth and creamy. Spread ½ the batter over the cooled graham cracker crust. Drop the apple pie filling by teaspoons over the cheesecake layer. Spread the remaining batter over the apples. Drizzle the caramel topping over the cheesecake. Then take a knife and swirl it gently into the batter.
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the streusel. Spread the streusel evenly over top the cheesecake.
- Bake at 350 for about 45-50 minutes or until the cheesecake has set and the edges are lightly browned.
- Cool completely, then store the cheesecake in the fridge.