Sweet Treats

Recipe—Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Talk about a match made in heaven! Two classic American desserts coming together to make one heck of a fabulous and indulgent dish. This delicious recipe is perfect for all the holiday social events this time of year. I recently made it for my office party and it was a hit. I cut the squares pretty small so that they were easy to handle and could be eaten as a finger food. This reminds me a lot of Dutch apple pie á la mode. You have the crisp topping drizzled with syrupy caramel, the soft spiced apples, and the creamy sweet cheesecake layer all over a buttery crust. This is a great recipe to keep in mind come Christmas since you can prepare it a day or two in advance giving you some extra time with your guests on Christmas day. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

CRUST INGREDIENTS
2 c flour
½ c brown sugar
1 c butter, softened
½ tsp cinnamon

CHEESECAKE FILLING INGREDIENTS
3-8 oz packages cream cheese
3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

APPLE LAYER INGREDIENTS
3 apples peeled, cored, and finely chopped
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg

STREUSEL TOPPING INGREDIENTS
1 c brown sugar
1 c flour
½ c oats
½ c butter, softened
1 c caramel topping

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon and mix with your hands until crumbly.
  • Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with foil making sure to go up the sides. (The helps you to easily remove the final cheesecake from the dish making it a breeze for cutting into bars.)
  • Press the crumbly mixture into the bottom of the lined pan making sure it is an even thickness.
  • Bake crust for 15 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture over the warm crust and using a rubber spatula carefully spread it so that it is an even layer.
  • In a small bowl stir together all the apple layer ingredients.
  • Sprinkle the apples over the cream cheese layer.
  • In a small bowl combine the streusel ingredients and using your hands mix until crumbly.
  • Sprinkle the streusel over the apple layer.
  • Bake for 40–45 minutes.
  • Allow the cheesecake to cool and then drizzle with the caramel sauce.
  • Once cheesecake is room temperature store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • To serve, carefully lift the finished cheesecake from the pan by holding the edges of the foil.
  • Transfer to a large cutting board and cut into bars.
  • Serve cold.
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Sweet Treats

Recipe—Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Balls

These no-bake caramel pecan cheesecake balls are the type of dessert that make your teeth hurt just looking at them. And I mean that in the best way possible. There is a reason these are bite size servings. They are so rich that you really will only want to eat one, but will probably devour a couple. You just wont be able to resist. They are dangerous like that so beware! I made these for a recent birthday party and had at least half the people ask for the recipe. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. These are the perfect party dessert if you are looking for something that is absolutely delicious and bite size.

Note: I ate these frozen as well as refrigerated and they were delicious both ways.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1 c powder sugar
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp butter
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/4 cup caramel sauce

STEPS

  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar. Beat using a mixer until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in more powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs as needed to make the consistency of a cookie dough so that it is easy to work with.
  • Place bowl in the fridge for a half hour to allow “dough” to set.
  • Using a tablespoon or melon baller scoop up balls and roll in your hand until round in shape.
  • Place each ball on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for an hour so that the cheesecake balls harden and don’t melt when you are dipping them in the hot chocolate.Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler whisking with a fork until smooth. (The step can also be done in the microwave just be sure to check on it and stir every 30 seconds. The chocolate can burn easily.)
  • Dip each ball into the melted chocolate and turn until evenly coated. (I find using a fork works great to remove the balls from the chocolate so that the excess can drip off between the prongs.)
  • Place the chocolate-coated cheesecake balls back on the wax paper covered baking sheet.
  • When you are done dipping each ball drizzle with the caramel sauce. (I find using a zip loc bag with the corner cut off works great. And it is a breeze to clean up, just throw the bag away!)
  • Sprinkle the cheesecake balls with crushed nuts and place in the fridge for at least one hour before consuming.