Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

I can honestly say I’ve never had a dessert quite like this before. I was powerless when it came to trying them after my brother Nate (the same one who gave us the recent pumpkin bread recipe) insisted that this is his wife’s favorite dessert of all time. All time. Ok. That’s a pretty rave review. It made me start considering the worth of making the recipe.

Then, he told me this decadent treat is the most requested dessert by his co-workers for him to bring in to work. They request it at least weekly. Ok. That’s a good point in the favor of these bars.

Finally, he told me that if I didn’t make them, he would disown me as his older, smarter sister forever. Noted. Not only does he desperately need my unwarranted advice, but I need his legal counsel and all future recipes. I decided to make them immediately.

And they are unreal. Absolutely unreal. A soft, lightly spiced, buttery crust holds the divine weight of a creamy cheesecake, cinnamon-and-sugared tart apples, a deliciously sweet, oaty streusel…and to make matters even heavier…all of those incredible layers are drizzled with a heavenly and simple homemade caramel sauce.

My husband has now declared these his new favorite dessert, also, which means we’ll be seeing them again frequently around these parts.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

One Year Ago: Coconut and Cashew Granola
Two Years Ago: No-Bake Spiderweb Cheesecake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Ingredients

    Apples:
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping:
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • Base:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • Cream Cheese Layer:
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Caramel Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cups half-and-half or cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. For the streusel, in a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.
  4. For the base, in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. For the cream cheese layer, while the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.
  6. Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.
  7. Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).
  8. For the caramel sauce, mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/caramel-apple-cheesecake-bars-with-streusel-topping/

Recipe Source: Bars adapted from my brother, Nate (I think he originally found them on the Food Network), caramel sauce from Pioneer Woman

114 Responses to Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

  1. Just bookmarked! These are going to be my Thanksgiving dessert!

  2. These are one of the most popular things on my site. I increased the cream cheese layer because I thought it needed a little but more.
    http://thegirlwhoateeverything.blogspot.com/2010/09/caramel-apple-cheesecake-bars.html

  3. Kim in MD says:

    Ditto for me, Jessica! These are going to be on my Thanksgiving table, too! Thanks for sharing Nate’s recipe with us, Melanie! :-)

  4. CaSaundra says:

    Caramel apple flavors are good in so many desserts–this recipe looks like another one to add to the list!

  5. Kira says:

    I have been wondering what to do with my extra half and half dinner called for a few nights ago…. MMMM!

  6. I’ve been waiting for a good apple cheesecake dessert recipe to pop up online! Thanks :)

  7. These look so yummy! Silly question, do you wait till the caramel simmers and then cook 5-7 more minutes or 5-7 minutes total? thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Jeanette – it isn’t a very scientific recipe but that’s a good question. Bring it to a simmer and cook it for about 5 minutes after that.

  8. These look absolutely fabulous! They are going on my table soon!

  9. Norah B says:

    Oh those are calling my name. Why oh why have I already had my share of goodies for the week. Those look awesome. Thanks for sharing them.

  10. Amanda says:

    I guess I’m headed to the store for Granny Smiths and cream cheese.

  11. Lisa says:

    That picture speaks for itself. I can see why this would be such a favorite, especially with all that good stuff going for it.

  12. Jane says:

    I have been looking for a recipe exactly like this! Thanks for ending my search.

  13. Shandra says:

    Yeah! Just the other night I was on a hunt for something like this. I had a craving for a creamy cheesecake filling with cinnamon apples. Voila! You came to my rescue. I am thinking my bottled apple pie filling will work great for the top apple part.

    Thanks Melanie!!

  14. Cammee says:

    This dessert encompasses everything I love! My only hesitation in making them is my concern that I will devour the entire pan myself. I’m going in though, I can’t stop myself!

  15. Ashlee W says:

    I found these a couple of years ago on Food Network and they are AWESOME! They are delicious. They take a bit of time but they are so worth it. I’m glad you’re getting that recipe out there!

  16. Janae says:

    Those look so yummy…I am headed to the grocery store today and I just had to add those ingredients to my list.

  17. Deborah says:

    Oh my goodness. I need these. Right. Now.

  18. Shannon says:

    I’ve decided apple pie is my favorite pie, cheesecake is my favorite cake, and caramel is my favorite topping…how could I go wrong with this dessert? I am thinking it may replace our apple pie this year at Thanksgiving if it is that good. Hmm. Could I justify making it sooner than that because I sure want to try it?!

  19. Sorry I didn’t finish my comment earlier…these look amazing. I will have to try your homemade caramel. I’m sure that just makes it out of this world. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I love everything you make!

  20. Wow, Mel, these look incredible! I could definitely go for one of these right now… I’m so glad I found your blog! I’ll be visiting again soon to see what you’re cooking and baking up next!

  21. Jen says:

    I brought these to our church cheesecake contest a couple years ago, and won 1st place for them!!! This is a Paula Deen recipe with extra spices added to the crust. Recently, I’ve seen this recipe pop up on everyone’s food blog.

  22. Veronica says:

    Your dessert posts make me so happy!!! :)

  23. jenny lunsford says:

    Oh heavenly! Agreed with all statements previously mentioned! Ha ha! Must make immediately!

  24. Barbie says:

    I saw your recipe and decided to made these for a bake sale at my husband’s work tomorrow to benefit cancer research. WOW! Amazing! It is going to take everything in me to send them to the bake sale rather than just eat them all myself. SOOOO GOOD!

  25. briarrose says:

    Looks so good. Love the drizzle across the top. Couldn’t resist these if I saw them on the table.

  26. [...] Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping (My Kitchen Cafe) This looks like such an amazing dessert – a thick crust, a layer of cheesecake, then apples and streusel. Cannot WAIT to make this! [...]

  27. jen says:

    ohhhh, yum. thank you for sharing this!

  28. Jane H. says:

    With the exception of the homemade caramel sauce , the cheesecake bar recipe comes from Paula Deen. These are very good, I’ve made them several times.

  29. Joanne says:

    Well after so many rave reviews from so many different sources, I know exactly what dessert I’ll be making this week. My thighs officially do NOT thank you :P

  30. Christa says:

    These look so delicious! Has anyone had success freezing these bars for a yummy treat later? If so, how long do they take to thaw approximately?

  31. grace says:

    this is a cheesecake-type creation i can see myself enjoying immensely! hooray for apple season.

  32. ingrid says:

    The men in your family seem like super guys! :)
    ~ingrid

  33. Becky says:

    Holy crap Mel!!! Those look to die for! I really, really wish you could be my personal chef. Little do your adorable kiddos know how lucky they are!!! :) Hope all is well!

  34. queenann says:

    I made these last night. The recipe looks long and involved, but they are simple, really. Not difficult–even for someone like me who is easily overwhelmed by recipes–and faster than it looks, too. And they turned out great for me. Really love the apples in them. And the oats in the streusel.

    • Mel says:

      Queenann – thanks for checking in on this recipe. I agree that the steps look endless but it really does come together quickly. So glad you liked it!

  35. yumm. this seems like the perfect sweet fall dish!:)

  36. kitty says:

    I made this last night (sans caramel sauce) and it was one of the best things I have EVER made. Having a food processor cuts the steps down. Thank you!

  37. ann says:

    This was by far the best dessert I have made this fall. It’s really good for breakfast too!

  38. Reyna says:

    I thought this recipe was delicious. It tastes a lot like the bavarian apple torte, but with streusel and caramel–two things that amp up any recipe in my book! That caramel sauce was so easy and tasty–I’ll be using that component for all kinds of things!

    • Mel says:

      Reyna – yes, the flavors are definitely similar to your Bavarian Torte. In fact, next time I make the torte, I’m going to drizzle some of that caramel sauce on top.

  39. Dorcas says:

    Awesome- and this dessert is good for breakfast,lunch,dinner, midnight snack….I made this for company and everyone ate dessert no matter how full they were already and cleaned they’re plates and groaned! My husband isn’t a cheesecake fan but ate several helpings within the next couple of days. I may add a little more apple mixture to it the next time because I think it would be nice to have even more of a apple flavor and the texture of it more pronounced. But it’s very good the way that it is already.

  40. Lisa says:

    I just made this last night and it was a hit with all our friends and family! I liked it and thought it had great texture and flavor. I am a HUGE cheesecake fan so my only wish was that that cheesecake flavor was more prevalent. But the desert was really good; and that carmel sauce..to die for and so easy! I tried it slightly warm and then cold. I think I would prefer it at room temperature so I will try that today ;-)

    As always thanks Melanie for the awesome recipes. My husband thinks I’m a great cook now and I always tell him it’s because your recipes inspire me to try new things so thank you!

    p.s. I also send all my friends to your blog! I think it is one of the best out there!

    • Mel says:

      Lisa – you need to start taking the credit for your husband’s praises (forget about telling him you got the recipe from here!). I’m so glad these cheesecake bars were a hit. I’ve seen other people make them and they one and a half the cheesecake layer – you might try that for a more prevalent cheesecake flavor!

  41. Stephanie says:

    These bars were a HUGE hit at my family reunion this past weekend. Everyone was asking me for the recipe! I have to admit to taking 2 shortcuts. I made a graham cracker crust base (called for less butter) and i used Hershey’s caramel sauce on top.

    I’m so happy I found your blog by doing a random Google search for cheesecake bars. Now i want to try more of your recipes :)

  42. Candice Martell says:

    I can’t remember if I commented or not … I made these last week and they are oh-my-goodness good! Basically a cheesecake in bar form, which definitely makes them easier to bake!
    Thanks!

  43. [...] irresistable to try so I’ll use the author’s photo (stamped with her site name and with lots of links back and recognition)… hopefully that’s [...]

  44. Okay, so, I was beginning to think I was cursed. I have made SIX new recipes in the last 2 weeks, and they have ALL been DISASTERS!! But… you broke my curse! These bars were fantastic! They were easy to make, and are just divine! I’m going to have to share them so I don’t eat them all. Thanks for the yummy recipe and for breaking the curse! ;)

    • Mel says:

      Krista – sorry you’ve had such bad luck with new recipes. That’s the worst! Glad that these cheesecake bars broke up the bad streak!

  45. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe Melanie! I made it for a family get together and it was major hit! I will definitely be making this again!

  46. Kensi says:

    I made these for our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday because I actually had all of the ingredients for them, yay! I LOVED them. They are the perfect apple desert and I loved all of the different layers, they go perfect together. So, so, so, yummy, thank you Mel!!! :-D

  47. [...] cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars. Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Caramel Apple MuffinsCaramel Apple Cheesecake [...]

  48. Janssen says:

    I just made these last night after months of staring at them on your blog and they were a big hit. Even my husband, who is dubious about apple desserts, went back for seconds.

  49. BriAnn says:

    This recipe will be the end of me. Apple anything has always been a favorite, and combining my other favorite thing, cheesecake is just playing a big joke on my back end. It is delicious! I halved the recipe and it came out great! I’m glad I wont have a whole pan of this stuff hanging around.

  50. Christie Bayless says:

    First of all I would like to thank you for the fabulous compliments. I submitted this recipe to Paula Deen in 2008, and it has been published in several of her magazines, and it is posted on the food network website. I just decided to do a search on the recipe tonight, and to my surprise, it is pretty popular. It is a recipe that I made up for a dinner party for someone who wanted to serve my Caramel Apple Cheesecake. I decidedto make the recipe into bars, so it was easier to serve. Thank you.

  51. Elena says:

    Amazing, delicious, delightful, and so rich!! This is a great dessert for parties.

  52. Kristen C. says:

    Was referred to your site by a friend, and boy do I owe her a favor! I’ve been reading your recipes all day and have yet to find one I didn’t drool over! I’ve printed off no less than 10 of your recipes which are the ones I want to try immediately, and have bookmarked numerous others! But this one is gonna be the first one I make tomorrow! cannot wait! it looks amazing! thanks for sharing! and for taking the time to do your blog!

  53. Sarah says:

    I have made these twice and LOVE them! The only thing I do not love is that they are a bit time consuming. Any tips for chopping up the apples quickly? I have tried them in my hand food chopper but the apples seem to stick to the side of the blades instead of staying in the cup for easy chopping.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sarah – I’m pretty old school when it comes to chopping the apples. I do it by hand and yes, I agree, it is a tedious process. Unfortunately I don’t have any great tips to speed it up (unless you have or get one of those nifty apple peeler/corer/slicer hand crank machines).

  54. Sarah says:

    Thanks, Mel! There has to be someone out there who knows a fast trick for cutting up apples into small pieces and if I ever find that person I’ll let you know! Maybe I’ll try chopping them earlier in the day to save some time later.

  55. Jen says:

    I was pilfering through your website enjoying the recipes. When I got to this one, that did it. I copied it, Facebooked it to my sister and signed up to follow you on Facebook. Fortunately you can not see me drooling. I will be making this soon!

  56. Kristy Meyring says:

    Loved this recipe, so did everyone else that tried it! Very easy to make! Just wondering if it has ever been doubled before, to be baked in a foil lined cookie sheet, so that it can feed a larger crowd?

    • Mel says:

      Kristy – I’ve never tried it that way. It should work ok as long as the sides of the pan are high enough to avoid bubbling and spilling over.

  57. Clare says:

    I made this for my mom’s Mother’s Day meal, and my husband went crazy! He isn’t a huge dessert guy, and, more often than not, I enjoy something sweet far more than he does. I was taking my Sunday nap by the time he tried this, and he woke me up to ask where I got the recipe and to tell me that it’s the best thing I ever made. Later, when on the phone with his mom, he raved about it to her. I have never, ever, seen my husband react to a dessert like this, so thank you!
    By the way, I found you through our mutual, super talented friend Mariann. :)

  58. Rachel says:

    I am 16 and i am the baker in my family, today i made this recipe to take to seminary class, and it was a hit. the fridge that i stored them in overnight froze the bars which made them 10x better, although i didn’t have any.

  59. Terri says:

    Just made this dessert on Sunday for a family get together…it was a HUGE hit! Soooo delicious!! Will be making these again! My husband isn’t much of a dessert eater…but he really liked these! I ate just one that night, trying to be good…and that was sooo hard because I wanted to grab the plate and keep them all for myself!
    I’m the mom of four boys…so the few that were leftover were gone the next morning …a common occurrence in this house :/ …Sigh…Next time, I’m gonna be selfish…and hide a few in the veggie drawer in the fridge! Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! :)

  60. Tausha says:

    These are in the oven right now – I am soooo nervous, they are going straight up to a family gathering before I even get to taste test them! (I’m prone to somehow messing up everything I try to bake!) So excited about all these positive reviews!

  61. [...] recipe that I found on Pinterest (seriously, if you aren’t on Pinterest, you should be!):  Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping.  The very idea of eating this treat makes me [...]

  62. [...] Recipe Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe [...]

  63. Amanda says:

    I finally made these on Sunday. My husband said they are now one of his top 5 desserts and that I should make them for any church function or any family that I take a meal to. We prefer them cold, though.

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  65. [...] in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars. Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, caramel sauce from Pioneer Woman Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  66. Jane, QOATM says:

    With the unbelievable apple harvest this year, I’ve already made this dessert twice…and I’m sure to again. Here’s a tip to make the prep quicker; use your food processor to make the crust, then without cleaning it, use it again to make the struesel – less mess and less time – yippee! FYI these are still quite yummy w/o the caramel (I need a portable dessert last week and these fit the bill), however, as we all know, everything can be improved by adding caramel. I’m thinking of chopping some fresh cranberries and adding to the apples next time…

  67. brandy says:

    Just one more comment to add to an already long list of comments…but I just have to say, that I made these on Saturday for a bbq with friends and have have been eating them everyday since. Everyone loved them! I’ve even decided to make them again when I do a jewelry party at my house in two weeks. These little bits of heaven aren’t too labor intensive, but give the impression that you’ve worked on them all afternoon. Very elegant dessert. I think I’ll add these to my top 3 desserts of all time!

  68. Ang says:

    What would happen if I used regular oats instead of quick?

    • Mel says:

      Ang – the streusel might bake up a little bit more lacey/crumbly than if you use quick oats, but it probably won’t be a huge difference. If you have regular oats, you might give them a quick spin in the blender – not enough to pulverize them but just chop them slightly.

  69. tonya says:

    On Halloween we dress up our kids & invite their grandparents over for supper. This year we went the easy route & had baked potatoes for the meal. The dessert was the star – I made this & it was a HIT!! Thanks for another wonderful & impressive recipe!!

  70. davis says:

    I’m curious if the caramel sauce is supposed to have a strong vanilla flavor or if i did something wrong…

    • Mel says:

      davis – I don’t think the flavor is overly strong but it definitely has a hint of vanilla flavor. You might try halving the vanilla amount next time if you thought it was too strong for your tastes.

  71. davis says:

    Once it had cooled completely and served it on the bars, I couldn’t taste the vanilla nearly as much. I guess I should just keep my finger out of the jar and use it for the dessert. :) Thanks!

  72. Mindy says:

    They look AMAZING and they have been getting soooooooooooooo many postive reviews! All of your recipes get positive reviews!
    But I don’t know wat nutmeg is, I just know that it is a spice, so would it be okay to leave the nutmeg out? Will it make a change/difference to the taste if I do so?
    Thanks, and pleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssseeeeeeeeeeeee reply!

    • Mel says:

      Mindy – Nutmeg is a spice, you can find ground or whole nutmeg. You can try leaving it out – it will affect he flavor a bit but will probably work fine.

  73. Laura A. says:

    I really want to make this recipe!!! Was wondering if there’s any way to turn this into cake form rather than bars?

    • Mel says:

      Laura – I haven’t made this other than the bar form so you would probably have to experiment with pan size, etc. Baked per the recipe, it turns out like a 9X13-sized cake, are you wanting it to be 9-inch rounds or something similar?

  74. Laura A. says:

    Yeah I was thinking a 9″ springform pan. I will probably use the base & find a recipe for plain cheesecake for that pan & add all of that caramel-apple goodness to the top! I will play around with it. Thanks & I LOVE your blog!

  75. brandy says:

    Had a Paparazzi jewlery party last night and this was the dessert I chose to serve. Big, big hit! I’m sending your link to all my friends! Thanks soooo much!

  76. [...] of the enjoyment of it, comes from the basics that I learned in my warm happy kitchen at home.  Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. So Very Good! Just…make these please. And invite me [...]

  77. Katie says:

    These look delicious! How far in advance can you make these prior to serving them?

  78. abby says:

    This was delicious!!!! Thanks for the great post

  79. Shannon says:

    This. was. so. good. That is all.

  80. I´ve made these at least four times and they really, really are great. They´re a hit with everyone time after time. You can´t go wrong with these no matter who eats them. Thanks for a great recipe.

  81. Jess says:

    Sounds good I love it

  82. Jane, Queen of all things mundane says:

    I have already posted about how DIVINE this bar is, but I have more great news; increase the pan size to 10 x 15 and omit the apples to make a perfectly portable morsel ready to dress for any occasion – right now I’m adding a dollop of rhubarb sauce to the top and as soon as the strawberries are ripe, they’ll take over center stage. Thanks, Mel, for one of my new favorite desserts!

  83. [...] recipe was adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe  who adapted it from the Food Network. [...]

  84. [...] Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from Mel's Kitchen Cafe Eggnog Cheesecake Bars from Land O' Lakes [...]

  85. [...] family, a happy, inspiring lunch with friends, a late night episode or two of White Collar, and the amazing dessert Jenni [...]

  86. Georgia says:

    Oh wow. I am going echo everyone else’s comments in saying how freaking amazing this is. The only thing is that in the directions, it never says when to add the salt & cinnamon on the base layer. I just added it in with the flour and brown sugar, but you might want to include that in the instructions. Thanks so much for this fab recipe!!!

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  88. Natay says:

    Made these for a coworker’s birthday today and got rave reviews. These bars are always a huge crowd pleaser and the perfect fall recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  89. nancy bull says:

    the caramel sauce was runny no matter how long I cooked it

  90. Amy says:

    This was delicious! I did have trouble with the caramel sauce. It wouldn’t thicken. I waited 15 minutes before I saw any change, now it’s gritty. Next time (oh, yeah – there will be several ‘next times’) I’ll try your crockpot dulce de’ leche instead. :) Thanks Mel.

  91. Pat says:

    I made these and they tasted wonderful but the crust wan a little hard to cut . Is that normal? I would also like to know if I can freeze them. I want to make them for a dessert bar for my grandson’s wedding and need to make them ahead of time. Thanks so much. Love your site. Your recipes are amazing.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Pat – try underbaking the crust by a minute or two and also try not to press it too firmly into the pan – just lightly pressing it will help it not bake up too hard. I have never frozen these so unfortunately I’m not sure how they would fare but other cheesecake-type desserts seem to freeze well so it’s certainly worth a try (although I’d definitely freeze them without the drizzle of caramel on top and add that right before serving). Good luck!

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