Growing up in Vermont, September marked not only the beginning of the school year, but the beginning of the greatest season to be in New England. There’s nothing like those beautiful leaves, the crisp, fall air, or eating an apple you’ve just picked from the tree. Although it’s still hotter than the blazes of Hades here in Houston, I’m going to pretend it’s autumn and enjoy yummy fall-ish treats, like these Apple Cheesecake Bars. Maybe it will help…
The taste: It’s like a threesome of shortbread cookie, cheesecake and apple crisp. How can that be bad? The buttery crust is thick enough to hold the divine layers of cheesecake, cinnamony apples and crunchy streusel. I omit the caramel sauce. I find that these are plenty sweet enough without it. Trust me…these are delish.
The ease: Honestly, the worst part about making these is peeling and chopping the apples, although you can see how finely I chop them…not very. If you have your butter and cream cheese at room temperature, the other layers are made in about five minutes. Use the 15 minutes that the crust is in the oven to chop those apples and the whole process takes about 45 minutes.
The fat-assness: Don’t ask. Three sticks of butter in one 9×13 pan does not make for a slim waistline. But, these are pretty sweet and you really only need one to curb your sugar craving. Please note that if we’re using the “yield” amount written on the recipe, I think the 2 dozen is more accurate. 4-6 servings? Good Lord! If that’s the case, go ahead and make a call to the paramedics while you’re baking this bad boy.
The cleanup: 3 bowls, measuring cups and spoons and the 9×13 pan. The recipe calls for aluminum foil to be used in the pan, but I used parchment paper (I’ve had trouble with foil sticking). Either way, this makes cleaning the pan a breeze.
The verdict: Yummy fall goodness.
The variation: Adding nuts to the apple mixture or to the streusel would likely add a nice nutty crunch. I haven’t tried it yet, but that gives me a good excuse to make these again!
The tip: If you try to remove these from the pan when they are even a little warm, you’ll end up with a crumbly mess. After letting them cool at room temperature, I store them in the refrigerator overnight before cutting the next day. It allows the cheesecake to firm up and the flavors to meld.