Whether during apple season or any time of year, these apple cheesecake bars are a rich, decadent dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Prep Time45 minutesmins
Cook Time1 hourhr5 minutesmins
Chill Time4 hourshrs
Total Time5 hourshrs50 minutesmins
Keyword: Apple Cheesecake Bars Recipe
Servings: 16small bars
½cuppacked light brown sugar
24ouncescream cheese, softened
½cupsour cream,room temperature
½cupheavy whipping cream
4cupsapples,peeled and diced
1cuppacked light brown sugar
2tablespoonsheavy whipping cream
caramel sauce,for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups flour and ½ cup brown sugar until combined. Cut 1 cup of butter into tablespoon-size pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse until fine crumbles form.
Press the crust mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. The crust will be lightly browned on top.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the granulated sugar and beat until combined.
Add vanilla extract, sour cream, and ½ cup heavy cream and mix to combine. Add in the flour and mix.
Add in one egg at a time and stir by hand until mixed in.
Pour cheesecake mixture over the baked shortbread crust.
Toss together diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
Sprinkle over the cheesecake layer in the baking dish.
Mix together flour, baking powder, and brown sugar by pulsing in the bowl of a food processor.
Cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and add to the food processor.
Pulse several times more until the mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of heavy cream over the streusel mixture and stir with a fork or pulse just once or twice more. The streusel mixture will pull together just a bit to form larger clumps.
Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples in the baking dish.
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven, keeping the door closed for 20 minutes. Then, open the oven door and allow the apple cheesecake bars to cool to room temperature.
Chill for at least 3 hours before cutting into bars and serving. Drizzle apple cheesecake bars with caramel sauce, if desired.
Although the streusel topping goes onto the cheesecake bars last, I actually prepared all of the other layers, streusel included, before peeling and dicing the apples. Apples start oxidizing and turning brown quickly. I find it best to prepare the apples last so that they are put into the oven as soon as possible after cutting. You can also toss them with a little bit of lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
This is a thick bar with a substantial cheesecake layer. You can half or use ⅔ of the cheesecake recipe for a bit thinner cheesecake layer.
Do not beat in the eggs. Stir them in one at a time, gently. This helps to reduce the amount of air introduced into the cheesecake batter. Extra air causes the cheesecake layer to rise (the bars may overflow from the pan).
The smaller you cut your apples will determine how soft they become during baking.
Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your bars as the suggested baking time approaches.
Slowly reducing the temperature of the cheesecake after cooking (by turning off the oven for some time and then cracking the oven door for some time) helps reduce cracking in the cheesecake. It also allows the cheesecake layer to finish cooking so that it is not overbaked, crumbly, or dry.
Wait until the bars are chilled completely before adding the caramel drizzle so that it doesn’t soak in.