Friday, 18 December 2015

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Squares

Last weekend was my Mom's birthday so the whole gang got together and went to the theeeatre (said with a posh accent).  My parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, mother-in-law and an extra ten people because ... why not?  We love live theatre and are lucky to have several rather stellar theatres in the area. 

In order to celebrate my Mom in our true style we had copious amounts of food for supper before the show.  I learned my ability to over provide food for a group from my dear old mother.  It's her super power. 

My job was to bring the dessert.  I still had a hankering for an apple dessert. Maybe it's because here in my neck of the woods (south-western Ontario) we still don't have any snow.  It still feels like Fall so the Apple Force was still strong within me.

This dessert was amazing!  When you're making it, it feels like a lot of little steps as you put together this four layer dessert but it comes together easily and is outstanding for a group of people.  I got lots of ooooos and ahhhs when I served this up for a family gathering and luckily enough the few leftovers came home with us.



Apples
3 large Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp white sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Streusel Topping
1 cup light brown sugar - firmly packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened

Base
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar - firmly packed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened

Cheesecake Layer
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish - caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  Spray lightly with oil and set aside.

Prepare Apples - In a medium bowl, stir together: apples, 2 tbsp white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Prepare Streusel topping - In a medium bowl, combine streusel topping ingredients and mix well until crumbly.  It will appear fairly moist.  Set aside.

Prepare Base: In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Cut in butter using a pasty blender or two knives until mixture is still crumbly but combined. Press evenly into the prepared 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Prepare cheesecake layer - While crust is baking, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup white sugar using your stand mixer (or a large bowl by hand) until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time mixing well in between.  Add vanilla and mix again.  Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon apple mixture over the cream cheese layer.  Using your hands, sprinkle the streusel layer evenly over the apples.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until the filling is set.

Cool bars to room temperature.  Trim off any excess parchment paper that's around the edge.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, drizzle caramel sauce over each individual square and a little on the plate for garnish.  Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Note: For a recipe for homemade caramel sauce please refer to the link from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I just used simple caramel ice cream topping ... because I'm lazy.

Inspired by: One of my favourite foodie blogs -- Mel's Kitchen Cafe - Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

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