Wow, I can’t thank ya’ll enough for your kind words and encouragement after yesterday’s post! I am quickly moving past this incident because I have way too many good recipes to share, and let’s be honest…I always having something to say. But, I really do appreciate you reading my post and taking the time to comment. One of the best things about blogging for me is that writing helps me think about and work through my feelings. It also helps me keep things in perspective! This perspective, combined with the joy I feel every day working with kids and teaching them new skills, helps me keep my priorities straight. And today…my priority is sharing with you 2 overdue sweet recipes that I made for our holiday celebration at the beginning of the week.
The first one I discovered on one of the best dessert blogs out there, Cookies & Cups. I was really hoping to find an apple recipe to serve Monday night, and these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars looked perfect! The original recipe comes from Paula Deen, which is usually a good thing!
I did change one little piece of the recipe, the crust!
Instead of using a pastry crust, I made a pretzel crust for my bottom layer.
It added a salty touch, which was delish!
I had some assistance in the kitchen. The BOY was on hand to core the apples, cover them in cinnamon/sugar, and take some photos while my hands were dirty.
He also made the streusel topping, so I definitely owe him a shout out on the blog. He took a few more pictures while I quickly assembled the bars and placed them in the oven.
Just an FYI…I baked the bars 30 minutes before the center was set.
I drizzled caramel ice cream sauce across the top of the bars and then refrigerated them for a few hours before heading off to my parents for dinner.
It was hard not to dig right in immediately! Especially since I tried the pretzel crust, I was curious to see how it all turned out. But the bars needed time to set, and I had another recipe to work on (that recipe is coming up tomorrow).
Confession…I did cut the bars Monday afternoon and my mom, brother, and I snuck a few bites for a taste test.
We officially served the bars Monday night, and they were a huge hit!
I mean…what’s not to love???
I know I’m a little late, but wishing everyone a sweet new year!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
2 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel topping, recipe follows
1/2 cup caramel topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine pretzels, 1/2 cup sugar, and melted butter. Stir until well combined. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. BTW, this is the hardest part!
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.