The perfect marriage of cheesecake + caramel apples, these caramel apple cheesecake bars with that buttery, delightful streusel topping are one of my favorite fall desserts!
Move over pumpkin, because today, apples are getting their rightful attention as favorite fall flavor, too!
I mean, obviously you can enjoy apples every day of the year if you want (same with pumpkin, if we’re going to have this conversation), but there’s something about fall that brings out the delicious, warm flavors of apples.
And there’s no better combination than apples + caramel. Am I right?
Throw a little shortbread, cheesecake and streusel in there and you are looking at one of my family’s favorite desserts EVER.
And ok, fine, I actually have never relegated these caramel apple cheesecake bars to just autumn time. They are an oft-requested and oft-made treat all through the year.
My brother, Nathan, sent me the recipe years and years ago after his coworkers basically told him he should never bring any other treat in to work besides these babies. (Sidenote: my brother is an incredible baker and makes the most delectable desserts.)
I soon saw for myself the popularity that follows these bars. As in, you may get mobbed for the recipe. Prepare yourself.
Every time I bring these to a church activity or book club or social gathering (that highlight reel makes me sound like I actually get dressed and leave my house on occasion, which is slightly misleading), they are wildly, wildly popular.
I mean, just look at them! I know looks aren’t everything, but you have to admit, they are stunning little bars. And the outside appearance is just the beginning. They are ridiculously delicious. Like, best thing I ever ate kind of delicious.
That buttery shortbread based topped with a luscious creamy cheesecake layer and then followed by the syrupy tender apples…it’s almost too much.
But wait! There’s more! We’re going to take it two steps further with a buttery golden streusel (streusel is life) and caramel sauce drizzled on top with wild abandon.
I know. Let me give you a minute.
If you are looking for a showstopper dessert this fall, these caramel apple cheesecake bars should be very high on the to-make list.
And I’m not the only one with undying love! I originally posted this recipe back in 2010, and it has continued to be a family favorite of ours and many of yours, too (check out the comments for reviews and feedback).
There is a lot going on in this recipe, there’s no doubt about that. But I promise the end result will be worth it.
All of the components come together quickly and simply. It’s just a matter of assembling them all together (and bribing someone else to wash the dishes).
And in the name of giving apples a chance to shine today, here are a couple of my other favorite apple recipes (that aren’t pie)!
Whole Grain Applesauce Cinnamon Quick Bread
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
Apple Dapple Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce (one of my favorite cakes ever)
Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
Apple Cinnamon Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza
Caramel Apple Cider Floats
Cream Cheese Layer:
Recipe originally published October 2010; updated with new photos, commentary and recipe notes.