pumpkin spice bagels
pumpkin spice cream cheese
pumpkin spice coffee creamer
a pumpkin-scented candle
and a pumpkin-shaped candy jar.
I know, okay? I know.
But before I get started on baking pumpkin into muffins and scones and cupcakes and cinnamon rolls and pie, I thought I'd give apples their moment in the spotlight.
Enter: caramel apple cheesecake bars. Please take a moment to acquaint yourself:
Do you SEE those layers?!
1. brown sugar crust 2. cheesecake 3. spiced apples 4. brown sugar streusel 5. caramel sauce
I'll take care of layers four and five. Divide the rest amongst yourselves.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from The Gingered Whisk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 granny smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
about 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray.
2. For the crust: Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and use clean hands to work it into the flour and sugar mixture. Once the dough comes together, press it into the bottom of the prepared pan, forming an even layer.
3. For the cheesecake layer: Cream together the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, and continue mixing until smooth.
4. For the apple layer: In a medium bowl, combine the chopped apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix thoroughly to coat all of the apples.
5. For the streusel layer: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and oats. Add the butter, and use clean hands to work it into the dry ingredients until only pea-sized clumps of butter remain.
6. To Assemble: Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour the cheesecake over the warm crust and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the apples evenly over the top of the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the apple layer.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling is set. Once the bars have cooled slightly, drizzle the caramel topping over the streusel. Store in the refrigerator
Makes about 16 bars.