That is, until last year around Christmas when I bit into a Peppermint Bark Shortbread. More specifically, a piece of the candy cane. I felt my tooth (it’s on the bottom row if you’d like to visualize this) get pushed out of place. It didn’t come out, it just got partially unstuck to whatever it was stuck to. Does this even make sense? Well, anyway, according to my doctor I really should have a tooth “transplant” done, as it’s more of a permanent fix, but it also is a process that takes months. And money. It’s not going to happen anytime soon.
So for now I have to be careful about what foods I eat. Things like apples, peaches, corn on the cob…you get the idea. I’ve worked around the problem by cutting my food up like a mom would do for her toddler. Or, like in these cheesecake bars, I just combine the apple with lots of butter, sugar, and cream cheese and make a really yummy dessert. It’s for the sake of my teeth, you know.
Let’s talk about these bars. I brought them to work for a special lunch we were having for our speech therapist who is leaving the team. I wanted to do a fall themed dessert and my heart was set on these bars. The bars were a huge hit and my co-worker Ryan described them as “this is what would happen if apple crisp and cheesecake had a love child.” I couldn’t have said it better.
So what’s going on in these bars? First we have a very simple, buttery shortbread crust topped with vanilla cheesecake, spiced and sugared apples, then a oatmeal streusel. Let’s not forget the caramel sauce that’s drizzled all over it after it’s baked. Dreamy.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
from The Girl Who Ate Everything
for the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
for the cheesecake filling:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
for the apples:
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp sugar
for the streusel topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup caramel sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9×13″ baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
For the crust: in medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with pastry blender (or two forks…or your fingers) until mixture is crumbly and evenly distributed. Press into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
For the cheesecake filling: in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Pour over warm crust.
For the apples: stir together chopped apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Spoon evenly over cheesecake mixture.
For the streusel topping: in a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I used my (thoroughly washed) hands to combine the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture.
Bake 45-50 minutes in preheated oven, then drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Enjoy!