Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cheesecake Apple Streusel Bars


Ingredients

Apple Portion:
2 Large Golden or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Bottom:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce: *Optional, not shown
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a 9x13 inch baking with aluminum foil and lightly grease with butter.
Peel, core and chop the apples very finely.
Place the apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a small bowl, stir together and set aside.
Bottom:
In a medium size bowl, stir together the flour,brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined.
Press into the prepared baking pan. Place into the preheated oven for 10 minutes and browned.
Streusel Topping:
In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, oats and mix in the butter until crumbly. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Layer:
While the crust is baking, in a large bowl,use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.
Spoon and spread the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer.
Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples.
Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.
Remove to a cooling rack to cool.
Slice and serve as is or you can make the caramel sauce to drizzle over each piece when it is served.
Caramel Sauce:
Place the butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt into a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.
Simmer, whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken more.
Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a glass container with a lid.
If using right away, let cool to room temperature before drizzling.
Refrigerate caramel sauce and use as desired as a dessert topping.
If caramel sauce is too hard to drizzle after refrigerating, just warm it up a little first.
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