Monday, October 24, 2011

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

A few weeks ago, I learned a good friend of mine had scored a VIP cabana at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club. So last Sunday, a small group of us put on our Sunday best and headed up the coast for a day of fun, food, and of course wine. It was such a beautiful day and we had a great time learning all about "posh polo".

Posh Polo

Posh Polo

Posh Polo

Posh Polo
(Oh yeah, we felt like models)

As part of the cabana package, we were allowed to bring our own food and wine (as well as partake in a champagne toast and wine tasting), so these bars were my contribution to the party. I'd been lusting after this recipe so rather than be frustrated by the fact that my oven can't hold a 9x13 pan, I halved the original recipe and pressed on. The other change I made was to add more salt than called for in the caramel sauce. The bars are great without the caramel with the tart granny smith apples being a nice foil to the sweet streusel and crust, but the salted caramel sauce makes them over the top. I was actually going to skip that step, but I am so glad I didn't. I'm so glad I had other people to eat these because I was in serious danger of finishing them all myself.

Crust ingredients
In a bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon for the crust

Add the butter
Add the butter and mix until crumbly, but combined

Crumbly crust
Crumbly, but combined

Press the crust in to the pan
Press the mixture into an 8x8 pan lined with foil. Throw into a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.

Apple ingredients
Apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Mix the apple ingredients
Mix them

Streusel ingredients
Oats, flour, cinnamon, sugar, and butter

Mix the streusel ingredients
Mix until crumbly (notice a pattern?)

Whip the cream cheese and sugar
Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth

Add an egg
Add an egg

Add vanilla
Add the vanilla

Spread the cheesecake filling
Pour the cheesecake over the crust

Spread the apples
Top with the apples

Spread the streusel
Cover with the streusel and bake for about 30 minutes

Make the caramel sauce
Cream, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan until bubbly and thick

Salted Caramel Sauce
Transfer to a bowl or jar and cool in the fridge

Baked Bars
Baked bars

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Holy cow

One year ago: Artisinal LA
Two years ago: Apple Cranberry Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel
Three years ago: Pumpkin Shortcakes with Apple Compote and Vanilla Honey Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
(Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

Makes 9 bars

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick butter, at room temperature

For the cheesecake layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the apples:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the caramel sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 pan with foil.

To make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly, but combined. Press the mix evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, beat in the egg, and finally the vanilla

Mix all of the apple ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Mix the streusel ingredients, until combined, but crumbly.

Pour the cheesecake filling over the warm crust and make sure the filling is spread evenly.

Spoon the apples evenly over the cheesecake then top with the streusel. Bake until the streusel is lightly browned and the cheesecake layer has set, 25-30 minutes.

While the bars are baking, make the caramel sauce by whisking together the butter, brown sugar, cream, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to to a simmer. Cook gently, while whisking, until the mixture thickens. Transfer to a glass bowl or jar and refrigerate until cool.

Transfer the cooked bars to a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature. Slice the bars. Serve each bar drizzled with caramel sauce.

Printable Recipe

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Erica said...

What a fun event!! Love the step by step pictures! The topping looks amazing

Maria said...

I can't wait to make these!

vanillasugarblog said...

I loved those polo pics. That one on flickr of you is so good.
And yes, ya'll do look like models.
::::strike a pose:::::

Joanne said...

I've discovered that salted caramel makes just about everything better and is always worth the extra effort. these look awesome!

emily (a nutritionist eats) said...

Holy cow is right.
I'm drooling.

Let Me Eat Cake said...

love these that caramel sauce looks so good! not a fan of apples unless they are in pie form think this would work with cheesecake struessel and caramel?

Pam said...

That is the coolest pic with y'all standing there! love it. What a fun time!!! And your bars sound pretty awesome. Wish I had one now.

maggie mae aprons. said...

Wow. I am a visual learner so I LOVE that you provided a *gorgeous* step by step tutorial for me! I can't wait to try this recipe!

test it comm said...

With cheesecake, apples, streusel and aramel sauce, these sound so amazingly good!

Diana said...


Holy Cow isn't even the half of it.

Unknown said...

geez, that is phenomenal!! love. i'd never be able to go near that pan... :) fun at polo, you guys totally look like models!

Unknown said...

THe bars look so good.

elly said...

These look amazing. I can't wait to make them. And eat entirely too many.

Anonymous said...

This looks so yummy! And the polo event? How classy!!!

susan said...

this is my kind of dessert and my kind of day. and, yes, you do look like models!

Shelley Kubitz Mahannah said...

WOW. This looks amazing!

Suze said...

Made this dessert yummy! Thanks for sharing.

Esi said...

Suze, that's great! Glad you enjoyed

Abby said...

This was delicious!!!! Thanks for the great post

Esi said...

Abby , thanks so much! That's the best kind of comment :)

StevieWonderful76 said...

You had me at 'salted.' Damn you.