Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars

Today marks my first annual Christmas cookie-baking marathon!  (hopefully)  Well, technically I’ll be baking both tomorrow and Saturday…can’t make everything Saturday morning.  I asked Luke’s family if I could bring dessert to their Christmas Eve party, and my offering of a cookie platter was accepted.  I’m so excited!  I’ve had the cookie recipes picked out for a week and am chomping at the bit to make them.  I get that way whenever I plan to bake something, or do things in general.  I’m always anxious to get started.

Especially to get started on a new holiday tradition.  This one though, will have a logical origin.  Unlike those of my past.  I asked my mother about where the pickle tradition came from…and she didn’t know either.  I guess it’ll just remain a mystery.  Baking Christmas cookies is always a logical tradition.  Heck, you don’t need a reason to make cookies ever.  Cookies in themselves are reason enough to make more cookies.  But making four different kinds might need a tiny bit of justification…just a smidgeon.  Which is that I get to keep all the cookies that don’t fit on the platter.  Score!

These bars need no justification at all.  Do you like apples?  Do you like cheesecake?  Is making an actual cheesecake a little excessive to justify at the moment? If you answered yes to these questions, you might be me, or at least, a very awesome person who would very much enjoy these bars.  A layer of shortbread combined with a layer of cheesecake filling topped with cinnamon apples and a buttery crumb topping, how could you resist?  Well, I couldn’t, and I was very glad to have done so.

Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars

Adpated from Zoom Yummy

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

8oz cream cheese (1 package) , softened

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 large apple

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup (half a stick) of butter, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a small bowl, combine the first two ingredients, then cut in butter with a fork, or your fingers, until the mixture is crumbly.  Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a greased square 8” baking dish.  Bake for 15 mins, or until lightly browned.  Let cool when finished.

While the dough is baking, make the cheesecake layer.  In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add the egg, then stir to combine. Finally, add the vanilla and stir to combine.  To not overmix the batter, as that could lead to excess air incorporation, which could cause cracking.

Pour the mixture over the warm crust.  Peel and dice the apple.  (I did this step first.)  Mix with cinnamon and sugar, then covered the cream cheese layer with the apple chunks.

In another small bowl, combine the oats, sugar and flour.  Cut in butter with fork or fingers until the mixture is crumbly.  Spoon over the apples.  Bakes for 30 minutes, turning the temperature down to 300 for the last five minutes.  Cool on wire rack, then cut into bars.  Store bars in the refrigerator.




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