Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Mini's

First, I would like to say, when I grow up, I want a REAL camera to take REAL pictures of the food I cook so I can stop using my daggum cell phone! There, thank you for joining us haha.

Ok this picture does not do the recipe justice, really.  This was fairly easy but had multiple steps: Base layer, cream cheese layer, apple layer, crumble layer.  So I would say an average-mid level cook/baker can do this.  This isn't your beginners recipe.  

So I saw this recipe on  Mels Kitchen Cafe and OMG I had to have it.  The only difference is, and this was my first stab at it, the cheesecake layer was a little on the slim side.  But wow! What a dessert.  I concocted this from a layer bar dessert and think it turned out very successful.  I shared one with my mom on Halloween and she sat and ate the whole thing with me.  This rarely happens with my mom honestly.  "Oh I just want a bite" she will say.  This time she wanted her half and all of it!  The caramel sauce that was on top was simply delightful and extremely easy to make.  You must keep an eye on it though or I fear it could turn out to dark and taste bitter.  The base and topping were quite rich tasting, very.....nutty, brownish tasting lol  Sorry it's the best description I can give right this moment.  I used Honey Crisp apples and oh my were they yummy! I had never had them as I don't eat apples often.  

I must post this picture because of the cute little ramakins in it.  I got these babies at the Dollar Store.  HAHA yes I did.  Aren't they cute?  

This caramel is awesome!  I have used it in my coffee several mornings in a row now.  I highly recommend it and am now so unafraid of it, I may want to try the real thing with a thermometer and everything.  I would love a great, sticky recipe to use in a salted caramel brownie mmmmmmm lawdy!

I divided the recipe in half and used in 4 ramakins (large).

Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Original Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used Honey Crisp)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.
Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.
Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).
Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

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