James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Apple Cheesecake Bars

Dessert options for Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe years ago in a publication whose name I do not remember. I had torn the recipe out and zipped it into my briefcase and I said to myself: “I’ve gotta make this.”  Finally, this past Thanksgiving, I kept my promise. Normally our Thanksgiving gatherings are fairly small affairs, but Thanksgiving 2015 was special because our entire family got together.

This recipe makes a huge yield. The bars are rich, rich rich, and one bar will definitely satisfy, especially after a big meal and a sampling of a few pies. I followed the recipe as written but I omitted the caramel sauce because I felt that was overkill. Here it is. I measured the flour by spooning it into the measuring cups and leveling off.  I cut 24 portions from the completely cooled dessert.  Leftovers keep well, refrigerated, for up to 4 days. The bars may also be frozen for up to 1 month.




Apple Cheesecake Bars


For the crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.

For the Crust:

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.
  • Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly.
  • Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  • Add eggs, one at a time.
  • Add vanilla. Stir to combine.
  • Pour over warm crust.

For the Streusel Topping:

  • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and butter.
  • Use your hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
  • Set aside

For the Apples:

  • In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Spoon apples evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle apples evenly with Streusel topping.


  • Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set.
  • Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. (optional)
  • Serve cold and enjoy!



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