Cheesecake doesn’t have to be intimidating – these easy and tangy apple cheesecake bars are topped with sautéed spiced apples for a perfectly autumnal dessert.
Recipe and photos by Katie Olsen of Katiebird Bakes
For the crust:
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 c graham cracker crumbs (crushed from about 6 graham cracker sheets/93g)
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
For the cheesecake layer:
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ c granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ c Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the apple layer:
- 3 c thinly sliced apples (no need to peel)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ c brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 square pan or line with parchment paper (makes it easier to get the bars out later). Set aside.
- Make the crust: In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in 30-second increments. Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and stir until well incorporated. Press the mixture into the bottom of the square pan and pack down evenly with your hands. Bake for 10 minutes to set while you make the cheesecake layer. Set aside to cool once baked.
- Make the cheesecake layer: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed until fully combined. Beat in the Greek yogurt and vanilla on medium speed just until mixture is combined and smooth – no need to over beat here.
- Pour the cheesecake filling over the cooled graham cracker crust and smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center of cheesecake just barely wobbles when you shake the pan. Cool to room temperature before adding apple layer.
- Make the apple layer: In a medium saucepan, add all apple layer ingredients over medium heat. Stir frequently, adding a tablespoon or two of water if mixture seems too dry, until the mixture becomes syrupy and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool before spreading evenly over cooled cheesecake layer.
- Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving, up to 5 days. Remove from pan and cut into bars. Serve chilled.
Recipe Notes and Variations
- Cheesecake bars will keep, well-wrapped in the fridge, for up to 5 days.
- Use a melon baller to easily remove small seeds and cores from apples
- Real vanilla extract can be pretty pricey, but the flavor is worth it.
- For more good things that come in bars, try these Almond Butter Pumpkin Bars.