3mediumGranny Smith Applesor 2 large - peeled, cored, and diced
16ouncescream cheese2 - 8 ounce blocks, at room temperature
2largeeggsat room temperature
1cuplight brown sugarlightly packed
1 3/4cupall-purpose flour
caramel saucefor drizzling
Add all ingredients for the apple filling to a bowl and stir to coat the apples. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the apple filling sits, make the shortbread base.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 pan with a piece of foil so you can easily lift out the bars.
Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the flour and salt until well-combined.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and use your hands to spread it evenly into the bottom.
Bake until the shortbread is set along the outside, about 15 minutes. It won’t be fully cooked at this point.
While the shortbread base par-bakes, make the cheesecake filling.
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
For the streusel topping, add all ingredients to a bowl and combine with a fork (or your fingers) until crumbly.
Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the par-baked crust, and spread it out evenly.
Stir the apple mixture, and add it on top of the cheesecake filling in as even a layer as you can (including some of the juices, but not all if there is a lot of liquid).
Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apple mixture as evenly as possible.
Bake until the filling is set and the top is golden, about 35 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting. It’s best to let these bars cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving. They will slice easier this way, and it lets the flavors develop. Serve drizzled with caramel sauce.
If desired, you can flavor the shortbread crust with 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
To make an oatmeal streusel topping, add 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats to the streusel mixture.
I recommend an apple that leans more on the tart side for this recipe as it pairs really well against the sweet cheesecake filling and streusel topping. We used Granny Smith but you can also use Pinky Lady, Braeburn, Jonagold, and even Honeycrisp as a sweeter apple.