The most decadent, no-fuss dessert on the scene this fall.

Karen Rankin
Melissa Gray

Gallery

Credit: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Recipe Summary test

active:
45 mins
total:
17 hrs
Servings:
12
Advertisement

What happens when you combine cheesecake and caramel-apple pie into one snackable treat? Our Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, that's what. Just call them the most decadent, no-fuss dessert on the scene this fall. The recipe starts with a crust of graham cracker crumbs, crushed pretzels, and sugar. After baking to set the crust, ribbons of cheesecake batter are poured in before apples tossed in cinnamon and sugar get added to the top. Finally, a crunchy oat mixture is scattered over all three layers. It's the perfect fall treat, and it's bound to impress. Each oven is calibrated slightly differently so pay attention as your baking timer reaches the 45-minute mark. The best way to determine if your bars are done cooking is to gently wiggle the pan. Even though you can't see the cheesecake filling under the apples and oats, you should still be able to detect a slight jiggle. The bars will need to cool completely for 3 hours before you can cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. Plan to slice the bars the day they will be served—after the first day the topping will start to lose a bit of its crunch.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; lightly spray with cooking spray.

    Advertisement
  • Stir together graham cracker crumbs, 2 ½ cups of the crushed pretzels, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and 1 cup of the melted butter in a medium bowl. Place in prepared pan; press into even layer in bottom of pan. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on wire rack, about 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and ¾ cup of the granulated sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer on high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat on medium speed until just combined after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until just combined.  

  • Gently stir together apples, cinnamon, and remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl until fully coated. Pour cream cheese mixture over slightly cooled crust; smooth into an even layer. Spoon apple pieces in an even layer over cream cheese layer. Without rinsing apple bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, oats, remaining ½ cup melted butter, and remaining 2 cups crushed pretzels in apple bowl; crumble with fingers to form clumps. Scatter mixture over apple layer in baking pan. Bake at 350°F until golden brown and filling has slight jiggle, about 45 minutes.

  • Cool completely on wire rack, about 3 hours. Loosely cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight. To slice, uncover and grasp overhang parchment or foil to remove from baking pan; place on work surface, and slice into 12 bars. Top with caramel topping, if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers in covered container up to a week.

Advertisement