Add a fall spin to a make-ahead dessert with a tried-and-tested recipe for Easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.
How to Make Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Graham Cracker Crust
When it comes to cheesecake, purists would argue there is no other crust option than a graham cracker crust. It’s traditional. It’s iconic. It’s essential. In this recipe, I would have to agree.
There are two key tips to making a graham cracker crust that holds its’ shape after baking (and slicing):
- You must finely grind the graham crackers so that there are no large chunks. The smaller the crumbs, the more tightly packed they will be, and thus the higher likelihood your crust will stick together.
- The ratio of graham cracker crumbs to butter is essential. You need enough fat to hold the crumbs but not so much that it becomes oily.
Can Cheesecake Be Made Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! In fact, when it comes to desserts, cheesecake is one of the best options to make ahead of time because it’ll firm up more as it sets in the fridge.
I whip up these cheesecake bars and the accompanying caramel apple topping and store them separately in the fridge overnight. When it comes time to serve, I slice the bars, pile on the apples and let a final drizzle of caramel seal the deal.
The Best Sautéed Apples with Cinnamon
Fall flavor truly shines atop these creamy cheesecake bars, and it comes in the form of sautéed apples with cinnamon and brown sugar. These tiny morsels pack big flavor into every bite without being cloyingly sweet (shout-out to tart Granny Smith apples for keeping the flavor balance). They’re like caramel apples, in topping form!
How to Slice Cheesecake Bars
The easiest way to slice cheesecake, whether in classic form or as bars, is to use a sharp chef’s knife and have a towel and warm water nearby. After each slice, clean the knife in the warm water then wipe it dry. While laborious to wipe down the chef multiple times, it’s the only way to guarantee super-clean, crumb-free slices every time.
Ready to satisfy your cheesecake cravings without the stress of a cracked top or water bath? Read on for more of my tips and this tried-and-tested recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars!Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes, meal plans and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
For the cheesecake bars:
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 12 crackers)
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temp
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
For the caramel apple topping:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- Homemade or store-bought caramel sauce, for serving
Make the cheesecake bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, then grease it with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed graham crackers and melted butter. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and press it firmly into an even layer.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then pour the cheesecake mixture atop the crust, spreading it into an even layer.
- Bake the cheesecake for 20 to 25 minutes until the center is almost set.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely before covering the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerating it for 3 hours.
Make the caramel apple topping:
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter and cook until melted.
- Stir in the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the apples from the heat and let them cool for 10 minutes.
- When ready to serve. slice the cheesecake into 12 bars. Spoon the apple mixture on top and drizzle with caramel then serve.
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<p>Recipe by Kelly Senyei of <a href="http://www.justataste.com">Just a Taste</a>. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.</p>