Let’s settle into the season with crisp apples, cinnamon spice, and cream cheese. These Apple Cheesecake Bars are cream filled with a cookie crisp, topped with warm baked apples. These are our best apple dessert recipes. Let’s get baking, friends!
In terms of fall cravings, I generally glaze past a pumpkin spice. This is the time of year I want every single apple I encounter to either be sprinkled in cinnamon and sugar or dripping with caramel. A plain apple in the month of our Lord OCTOBER? No thank you. This is also the time of year I think cheesecake is both a good idea to bake and consume for breakfast so…. well, things are starting to go off the rails and I welcome it.
That’s how Apple Cheesecake Bars enter the chat. We’re talking classic flavor (aka apples in spice), lowered effort (because a water bath seems fussy), appropriately high expectations (because turning dessert into a bar is easy and genius).
Here’s how to press, pour, and chop your way into this buttery, creamy, October-perfect dessert.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these easy apple cheesecake bars:
• all-purpose flour
• old-fashioned oats
• granulated sugar or brown sugar
• ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and any other warming spice you like.
• unsalted butter
• softened cream cheese
• an egg
• crisp apples like Granny Smith apples, Golden Delicious, or Honeycrisp apples are my favorite.
• vanilla extract
A dessert bar is a sneaky cheat I’ll always get behind. We’re baking up all the goodness of a pie/cheesecake hybrid with a press-in crust and topping combo that’s mixed up with our fingers. This is magic trick level baking and exactly why you come here.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, sugar (granulated or brown), salt, and cinnamon. Add chunks of room temperature butter and use your clean hands or a sturdy wooden spoon to work the butter into a crumbly dough.
The dough will be enough for the base of the bars and the crumble topping. It’s a little wonder. Remove 1 heaping cup of the dough from the bowl and press the rest of the oat crust in a greased and linen 8×8 or 9×9-inch dish.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes or so, just to crisp the edges.
Coming up, what makes this one of my very favorite apple dessert recipes – the CREAM CHEESE, thank you. While the crust par bakes, whip up softened cream cheese, an egg, a bit of sugar, and vanilla extract. The mixture will be thick and smooth – the sort of consistency you’ll need to test with a spoon to the mouth. It’s in the Baker’s Bill of Rights.
The reason for the season? Apples, of course.
Mostly peel and dice apples into bite size pieces and toss with sugar and spice.
Spread the cream cheese filling atop the mostly cooled crust, top with apples and sprinkle with that cup of crust dough we set aside.
Bake until the crust turned streusel topping is golden, the apples are tender and the crust is crisped underneath. I give the pan a jiggle to see that it’s set and not wobbly and generally test the doneness by how irresistible it smells.
As hard as it is to wait, it’s best if these bars are chilled to set before slicing. Isn’t cheesecake better cold? Yes the answer is yes!
These are my ideal autumn treat! The texture is crisp and creamy with a sweet, spiced bite from baked apples.
I think these squares are fantastic on their own or with a humble sprinkle of powdered sugar BUT you could also drizzle these babies with caramel sauce and no one would be mad.
Also consider a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream. No wrong answers here.
We’ve done our fair share of apple work around here. Below are some other apple recipes I hope delight you this fall!
More apple dessert recipes:
Ina Garten’s Apple Pie Bars are easily the most popular apple recipe on the site. All the goodness of apple pie with a press in crust! These are especially important if you enjoy more crust than apple proportions to your apple pie.
Apple Cheddar Pandowdy is an apple cobbler in a skillet with cheeses pie crust coins. Fancy yet very humble
Apple Pie Biscuits because yes, apple pie for brunch.
Brown Butter Apple Oatmeal Cookies are the cookies of the season! Dried apples bake to chewy in these buttery oat cookies!
Apple Praline Pecan Pie uses my dad’s pie crust recipe AND highlights my dad’s propensity to pour praline sauce on everything.
Remember the easy apple crisp that started it all? It’s called Man Bait Apple Crisp and I never did bait a man with it so I should change the name but the recipe is still a banger.Print
The easiest way to cheesecake are these bars topped with fall apples and spice.
For the Crust and Topping:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into large cubes
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Apples:
- 2 Fuji, Cosmic Crisp, or Honeycrisp apples, peeled cored and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line and 8×8 or 9×9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat the parchment paper with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
- To make the crust, in a large bowl whisk together flour, oats, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter cubes and use a pastry blender to work the mixture together. Combine until dough is well blended but still shaggy. Scoop out 1 heaping cup of the mixture to a small bowl and press the rest of the shaggy dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes until just lightly golden around the edges.
- Make the cheesecake mixture while the crust bakes. In a medium bowl, use electric hand beaters to combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until well combined and smooth.
- To make the apple mixture, toss together apple pieces, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- To combine the bars, pour the cream cheese mixture over the baked crust (it’s ok if it’s still warm). Top with an even layer of apples. Top with streusel topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cheesecake is set. Allow bars to cool to room temperature then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature. Bars will last for up to 4 days stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped.
Keywords: cheesecake, apple, fall, baking, bars, easy dessert